Tuesday, March 3, 2009

January/February Retrospective

The highlight of January was the Ivory Gull at Plymouth, MA on the 25th (life bird #474). Eva and I had a choice of pursuing either the Ivory Gull that had been in Gloucester, MA or the one in Plymouth. We decided on the latter, which proved to be wise as reports from the birding community seemed to indicate the Gloucester gull had moved on elsewhere.

On February 14 we drove over to Center Harbor, NH to see and photograph the Northern Hawk owl. I succeeded at both. While there I was delighted with the chance reconnection to a birder I had not seen in over 30 years. Sue Fogelman introduced me to hawk watching and in-flight hawk identification on Little Roundtop Mountain in Bristol, NH. It was a pleasure seeing and speaking to her after such a long time. Birding is rewarding in so many ways.

In South Reading, VT our feeders have been regularly visited by Pine Siskins, American Goldfinches, Common Redpolls, Dark-eyed Juncos and Purple Finches. What is unusual about this winter is good showing of siskins, redpolls and goldfinches. Typically a winter is dominated by one but rarely two or even more so three during the same season. And to top that off we've had the first overwintering Northern Cardinal and Tufted Titmice (2) as regular visitors. Winters in the higher elevations of Reading are snowy, cold and long. Flocks of American Robins, Cedar Waxwings and Bohemian Waxwings have been making the rounds within the region stripping apple trees of their remaining fruit.

A day trip to Victory Basin Wildlife Management Area in the Northeast Kingdom of VT on February 16 produced no crossbills or boreal chickadees. Sighted species included Gray Jay, 2; Common Redpoll, a flock of ~20; an American Tree Sparrow; Blue Jays; Black-capped Chickadees; Common Raven, 4; and Hairy Woodpecker, 2. Cone crop appears to be nonexistent this year.

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Hooded Merganser at Meredith, NH, on February 14, 2009.

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