Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Birding and Photography at Gooseberry Neck and Horseneck Beach

Snowy Owl on Top of the Dune
After I dropped my grandson off at work, I swung up to gooseberry neck, hopefully to see and photograph again the snowy owls that are present there. A birder who was observing the shorebirds did tell me that a snowy owl was on top of the towers. I walked up to the towers but there was no sign of the snowy owl. I walked out to the west side of the island and followed the beach all away up to the end and then came around down the east side of the beach. There were no signs of the snowy owl. I came across purple sandpipers feeding, so I sat down observed and took pictures of them. Further down on the beach toward the parking lot a single sanderling was feeding on the wrack and even further down a large flock of dunlins and one purple sandpiper were feeding.

Purple Sandpiper Foraging

Purple Sandpiper
Sanderling With Food
Dunlins and a Purple Sandpiper Foraging in the Wrack Line

I met a gentleman walking up the beach and we discussed about  the snowy owl locations and that I had not seen any as yet. He asked me if I had been over to Horseneck Beach, I replied no I hadn't. He then told me the location of a large snowy owl that had been sitting on top of a dune. When I reached the parking lot, before I left I went and checked out the rocks on the west side of the island hoping to see the snowy owl, but no luck. I packed up the car and traveled over to the parking lot at Horseneck, got my equipment ready and walked down to the left, past large building, across the old parking lot to W. Beach Rd. and turned left and headed down W. Beach Rd. I met a nice couple walking up W. Beach Rd. who asked me if I was looking for the snowy owl. When I replied yes I was they described exactly where it was in relation to where we were standing at that point. I follow their directions look to my left and high on the dune was the snowy owl. I spent time observing and photographing this beautiful bird. Most of the time it had its eyes almost closed, but rotating his head and watching in all directions. As I was just ready to leave to nice women were starting to walk up the ramp that leads to parking lot one, I called and asked them if they were looking for the snowy owl. They reply guess they were, so I told them to come to where I was. One of the ladies was visiting from Pennsylvania and the other one lives in New Bedford, both who have never seen a snowy owl. I've pointed out  the owl location and left two  happy women.

Snowy Owl on the Dunes with Eyes Open


Snowy Owl
Leaving Horseneck I met the first gentleman that told me about the Horseneck snowy owl and he told me just after I left the snowy owl appeared on the rocks on the west side of Gooseberry and then flew over to the campground at Horseneck Beach
Herring Gull Lifting off


Today December 31st is the last day for 50% of of Topaz Star effects
Star Effects