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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Adrian Binns

February 18-20, 2006
New England

Pictures by Adrian Binns
Pictures by Bert Filemyr (will open in a new browser window)


In spite of high winds and cold temperatures for the first couple of days we had a very successful trip to New England. Once again we had good numbers of gulls with many Iceland’s including four adults at Newburyport and five 1st cycles in along with three Black-headed, including an adult, and a 1st cycle Glaucous at Gloucester on Cape Ann. Along with a large group of Harlequins and amongst Common Eiders we had a spectacular drake King Eider at Pigeon Cove capping off a wonderful morning of birding on the cape.

A nearly pure white Snowy Owl hunkered down in the salt marshes of Plum Island made up for the lack of other species there, though at Emmerson Rocks we did pick up a small group of Purple Sandpipers while looking at White-winged and Black Scoters. Salisbury Beach was rather disappointing with only large rafts of Common Eiders on the Merrimack River and a Northern Harrier over the dunes.

On the middle day of the trip we opted to head north of Bangor to look for a couple of Great Gray Owls that had been around for well over a week. Unfortunately there was a reason for the lack of reports from the days leading up to our visit – it was not there! However we did get tremendous looks at our only Northern Shrike and a couple of Barred Owls, the later a first record for this trip in over 20 years of coming to New England in mid February. On our way back we stopped in to see Derek Lovitch at his Wild Bird Center store in Yarmouth to thank him for all his local knowledge in getting us onto some of birds.

Along the Maine coast we had a half dozen Barrow’s Goldeneye’s including cracking views of a drake. Another male was seen off the New Hampshire coast along with a Red-necked Grebe and Common Loons. Off Bass Rocks on Cape Ann we added our only alcids, these being four Black Guillemots, one of which was in summer plumage; several Horned Grebes and Rob found an immature male King Eider.

We saved the best bird for last and heading south of Boston to Plympton to visit a feeding station that had been host to a Boreal Chickadee for the past couple of weeks. It is not often that one gets such a good look at this often elusive species even on its breeding ground.

Adrian Binns

February 2006

Species Seen
1st number is the most number seen in one day
2nd number is the number of days out of 3 it was seen

Common Loon 4/3
Horned Grebe 3/1
Red-necked Grebe 4/2
Northern Gannet 2/1
Double-crested Cormorant 2/1
Great Cormorant 25/2
Snow Goose 1/1
Canada Goose c/3
Brant 12/2
Mute Swan 8/2
American Black Duck 50/3
Mallard c/3
Northern Pintail c/1
King Eider 2/1
Common Eider c/3
Surf Scoter 4/1
White-winged Scoter 30/3
Black Scoter 20/2
Long-tailed Duck 12/3
Bufflehead 11/3
Common Goldeneye c/3
Barrow’s Goldeneye 6/2
Common Merganser 10/1
Red-breasted Merganser 20/3
Bald Eagle 1/1
Northern Harrier 3/3
Red-tailed Hawk 6/3
Wild Turkey 6/2
Sanderling 20/1
Purple Sandpiper 7/1
Black-headed Gull 3/1
Ring-billed Gull c/3
Herring Gull c/3
Iceland Gull 5/2
Glaucous Gull 1/1
Great Black-backed Gull c/3
Black Guillemot 4/1
Rock Pigeon c/3
Mourning Dove 10/3
Snowy Owl 1/1
Barred Owl 2/1
Short-eared Owl 1/1
Downy Woodpecker 1/1
Pileated Woodpecker 1/1
Northern Shrike 2/1
Blue Jay 1/3
American Crow c/3
Common Raven c/1
Black-capped Chickadee 15/3
Boreal Chickadee 1/1
Tufted Titmouse 2/1
White-breasted Nuthatch ½
Carolina Wren 2/2
Hermit Thrush 1/1
American Robin 12/3
Northern Mockingbird 1/1
European Starling c/3
Cedar Waxwing 8/2
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1/1
American Tree Sparrow 10/2
Savannah Sparrow 2/1
Song Sparrow 4/2
Dark-eyed Junco 3/1
Northern Cardinal 3/2
Red-winged Blackbird 10/1
Common Crackle 45/1
House Finch 13/1
American Goldfinch 6/2
House Sparrow c/3

Eastern Gray Squirrel 2/2
Coyote roadkill 1/1
Harbor Seal 1/1
Red Squirrel 3/1