Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Double Great Day

Rough-legged Hawk
Saturday definitely was a double great day. It was that because my grandson and I first spent the the morning photographing that Parker Island National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island and then in the afternoon picked up my great-granddaughter and then we went to Salisbury Beach and finished off the afternoon back at Parker River.

Here is a synopsis of the day. Upon arriving at Parker River, we slowly drove down the road and stopped at the salt pannes, with close to the road there were mainly only black ducks and canada geese. One of the canada geese was preening, so we pulled over and using a Puffin Pad out my window, I photograph the goose and waited hopefully for it to give me a good wings spread, however, it only ruffled its wings.
Canada Goose ruffling its feathers

As we were riding down the road, we saw in the sky a hawk hovering. We pulled over, and again I used the puffin pad to steady my 500 mm lens and since it hovered and just moved around and state near the car I was able to photograph the Hawk would already difficulty. Identification showed it was a Rough-legged Hawk, a northern visitor from the Arctic.
Rough-leggedHawk diving for prey

Rough-legged Hawk back looking for prey since it did not catch any on its last dive

We stopped at the pullouts along the way and search for the snowy owls that had been reported at Parker River. At the Warden's, for the second year in a row I captured a Northern Mockingbird in the berries.
Northern Mockingbird taking off from the berries

At the Bill Forward Bird Blind, we searched the marsh hopefully for the snowy owl, no luck, but we got a great flight of the ducks that took off when an Eagle passed overhead.
Flight of ducks after being spooked by an Eagle

Our next stop was parking lot seven, where I met some friends from Massachusetts Camera Naturalists, who just came down from looking over the beach. We discussed what we had seen and they told me that there was nothing on the beach. However my grandson and I decided will just take a look. When we reached the platform at the top of the Boardwalk, there were a few people would spotted scopes looking down the beach and they told me there was a Peregrine Falcon feeding on the beach. Looking down the beach, there was a photographer taking pictures. We went down and walked close to the dunes slowly watching the Peregrine to make sure we would not annoy it. Took some ID pictures and slowly continue down toward the other photographer, because I did not want to shoot into the sun. The Peregrine was very cooperative and looked up every so often but mainly continued feeding. When we got to a good location, I took some more pictures, then lowered my tripod to the ground and I went down look also at slowly moved up toward the berm watching carefully the falcon to make sure I was not encroaching into its comfort area. It looked up and continue going back to eating animal out some great photographs. From looks of its prey it had captured a Yellowlegs. We spent over a half-hour photographing this great bird. We then backed away slowly and left because we had a go pick up my great-granddaughter.
Peregrine falcon on the beach, the blur near its feet is the sand blowing in the stiff wind

Peregrine Falcon feeding on a Yellowlegs

Peregrine Falcon

After we picked her up, we traveled to Salisbury Beach, where a snowy owl had been reported. We found the snowy owl across from the boat launch ramp way in the distance in the marsh. A couple was there with a spotting scope and let my great-granddaughter get a good look at the snowy owl. Then my grandson took his daughter for a walk along the beach, because that is something she likes to do. While I was continuing to watch to see what else was around a Merlin came flying into the area and I was hoping it was going to land in the tree that was close by, but however circled and continued back down along the campground. Another birder showed up, and we discussed the Snowy Owl and the Merlin. He told me that the Merlin likes to hang out on the dead tree near the bathhouse in the campground on row W. So when everybody was back in the car, we travel down and search the area, at first, no Merlin but on the second go around it was on the tree and allowed for some pictures. My first pictures of the Merlin. After that my great-granddaughter wanted to go play at the playground and I was the next thing we did.

We finished off the day by going back to Parker River where we got great views of a Red-tailed Hawk, a Bald Eagle, Great Egret and many Great Blue Heron. So finished a double great day.
Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk on top of the visitors center at parking lot 1
Bald Eagle

Great Egret