Assabet River NWR Crow

hudson crow 4
My first visit to the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge was really no more than a drive through. It was dark, cold, and gray outside, and I wasn't dressed for tick protection. Nonetheless, I managed to get a few shots of a handsome American Crow.

hudson crow 2
I love corvids of all sorts. I love Blue Jays and Crows and Ravens.

hudson crow
Corvids are the most intelligent birds in existence. To me, they as beautiful as they are smart.

hudson crow 3
Next time I visit the Assabet River NWR, I will be better prepared, but I did enjoy my time spent with this glorious American Crow.


Unusual Terns and Common Terns in Flight

Roseate tern flying 2011
Is there anything more beautiful than a tern in flight? Not to me there isn't! Here is a gorgeous Roseate Tern in flight.

arctic tern flight 2011
I also think the more unusual a tern is, the better I like it. Very shallow, I know! This is an Arctic Tern. Arctic Terns have the distinction of the longest migration of any birds on earth!

common tern flying
This tern is common around here, but its certainly not a Common Tern everywhere!

Roseate tern flying II 2011
Another shot of the lovely Roseate Tern in mid air.


Birdathon Break for Beautiful Backyard Birds

red bellied woodpecker two 2011
I still have some magnificent Plymouth Becah photod to share, but this stunning set of Red-bellied Woodpecker photos make for a nice break from the shorebirds.

red bellied woodpecker three 2011
I don't often get a chance to photograph one this close up.

red bellied woodpecker one 2011
This bird and his mate have been really hungry for suet these past few days. I see them at the feeder three or four times a day. Do you think that means there are babies to feed?

chickadee 2011
While we are showing off our backyard birds, I can't resist a charming Chickadee shot!

mourning dove 2011
Finally, a shot of a Mourniing Dove in the sunflower seed feeder. It used to be thta the Mourning Doves always ate on the ground, but lately I see them in one of the feeders almost every day.


Best artistic (sort of) shots from Plymouth

tern rock
The famous Tern Rock. (see pics from Bird-a-thon 2010!)

4 terns and minnow
Lining up for a bite?

terns share minnow
These two Common Terns look as though they are having a tea party!

tern and gull
Gull and tern in flight.

birdathon song 2011
At the beginning and at the end of the day, we were serenaded by the melodious song of a sparrow.



Birdathon Oystercatchers, Roseate Terns, Brants,and more!

American Oystercatcher 2011
The best surprise of the day was definately this American Oystercatcher. Pete would have loved to see this!

cross terns
Criss-crossed terns!

roseate 2011
Not the best photo for an ID, but this Roseate Tern image was the best quality of the few I managed to take during Birdathon, The swirling fog is simply impossible to deal with.

roseate 2 2011
A better ID pic of the Roseate Tern, although very fuzzy.

brants 2011
Brants are a type of winter geese around here. They are very cute and shy.



A Sampling from Bird-a-thon 2011 at Plymouth Beach


tern wild flight
A beautiful Common Tern battling the breezes.

singing laughing gulls
Three Laughing Gulls that look like they are singing in harmony!

bonaparte birdathon
A tiny little Bonaparte's Gull. Named after tiny little Napolean Bonaparte.

dunlin 2011
One of my very favorite Shorebirds: the Dunlin!

arctic tern 2011
The first sighting of an Arctic Tern in 2011!


Back to the Beach!

We'll see gulls galore at Plymouth Beach on Saturday.

We won't see a beautiful blue sky, though. If it's too cloudy, we won't good pictures - and if it rains, we are in deep trouble!

It was during last year's birdathon that I saw my first Brant. They are sea-going geese, and very cool.

I am DETERMINED to find Caspian Terns again. Can you see them hiding among the gulls?

Thank you  SO MUCH to Karen and Bob, Cheryl and Gene, and Linda and Rob!  If you can believe it, all of Tom's sisters have made very generous donations to our Birthathon for Broadmoor team! Sincere thanks to my St. Barts buddy, Maryann, also.
Thank you for donating to Mass Audubon!

Bird-a-thon 2011

These are some of the pictures that Pete, Tom, and I took during Birdathon last year.

running piping plover
Piping Plover
Birdathon is a 24 hour race to find as many bird species as possible in Massachusetts. It a big fundraiser for Mass Audubon, but it's also a way to get detailed "state of the birds" data and migration data.

roseate terns
Roseate and Common Terns
Birdathon is also a crazed competition between Mass Audubon sanctuaries. Different teams spread out throughout the state - climbing mountains and wading through swamps - just to find that one rare species that might win the day for their team.

yellow warbler birdathon
Yellow Warbler
Last year we met up with my cousin Catie in Bridgewater on Friday night. (Catie's BirdingGirl blog inspired me to start blogging two years ago!)

Marbled Godwit
We were up at dawn to try our luck at Plymouth Airport, then Tom, Pete, and I walked all the way out to the very tip of the peninsula at Plymouth Beach and all the way back in.

canada goslings
Canada Goslings
Then Pete dragged us to the Daniel Webster sanctuary to add even more birds to the list!

laughing gull profile
Laughing Gull
Despite the endless and very tiring walk, Plymouth Beach was a blast - and a birder's delight.

tern flight
Common Tern
Pete can't be here for Birdathon this year. He started a new job as a Forest Ranger in Oregon yesterday. I still haven't adjusted to not having him around, and I miss him terribly.

Handsome Common Tern
Common Tern
Between not having Pete to ID birds and my residual pain and vision problems from breathing in metal dust and glue fumes last winter, I was planning to skip Birdathon this year.

plover birdathon
Semipalmated Plover
But at the very last minute I changed my mind! I might not do as well without Pete, but with Tom at my side I'm going to try. I'll probably embarrass myself - but at least it's for a good cause!

Of course, I'm really desperate for donations now because Birdathon is only two days away. If you can spare a few dollars to save The Nature of Massachusetts, I'd be eternally grateful!