Great Horned Owl on nest!

February 26, 2012 in Nearby Landbirds

A Great Horned Owl is nesting nearby in the Nevins Bird Sanctuary in Methuen.  It most likely laid eggs in the last week or two.  Typically the GHO will lay a total of two eggs although they may sometimes lay up to four eggs.  Then the female GHO will incubate the eggs for about 30 days.  The female stays on the nest through even the roughest of weather until her incubation work is complete.  She may even be observed covered in snow, but no matter what the weather, she remains on her nest for the duration!  Stay posted for further developments and hopes that eggs will hatch by the middle of March!

Peregrines: more mating time!

February 26, 2012 in Near the Clock Tower

Another radiant Sunday morning visit to see the Peregrines.  They moved around the front of 200 Merrimack Street.  The action started out on one of the short steel beams that may have held a pulley system years ago.  The other Peregrine was on a ledge at the very upper southwest corner of 200 Merrimack just below the roof.  They both traded places flying around and landing on the roof.

Then the female with the  “V5” leg bands landed atop the utility pole on the south side of the street jsut down from the intersection and the main entrance to B&D Advanced Warehousing Corp.  This has been a regular perch location within sight of the nest box.  While she perched, I was able to draw clsoer in my car for a few photos.

Then she departed, flew around a bit and finally landed on the short steel beam.  Minutes later, the male arrived and preapred to mount her from the air with closed toes and feet turned inward to make things as safe as possible.  the three photos show how “V5” bows her head, stands still, and then slowly raise her tail in preparation for copulation.  Spring is in the air!

More photos posted: More Peregrine photos!

Red-tailed Hawk & Peregrines

February 23, 2012 in Near the Clock Tower, On the Clock Tower

On the morning of Ash Wednesday, this Red-tailed Hawk was chasing a squirrel on a utility pole near the corner of Jackson St and Methuen St. outside of the lawrence heritage State Park building.  The squirrel was just cagey enough to outsmart the hawk, but it was fascinating to watch their game of cat and mouse.

A few more photos posted:  Red-tailed Hawk photos


Later that afternoon, one of the Peregrines was observed perched in the window sill of the nest box.  The Peregrines have been hanging close to the next box recently and that bodes well for the mating and incubating activites in the weeks ahead.  A few minutes later the other Peregrine was observed having a snack on the roof and then departing and gliding down along south side the New Balance building.


For those with an interest, additional photos posted:  Peregrine photos


Peregrine breeding season underway!!

February 16, 2012 in Near the Clock Tower

This only means the breeding season for this pair is underway.  This scene was observed in the afternoon after Valentine’s Day!  According to Tom French at MassWildlife this would be a bit earlier than normal but he has received reports that other pairs have begun the mating process early in other locations.

A handful of photos have been posted.  Click here!

Peregrine leg bands!!

February 11, 2012 in Near the Clock Tower, On the Clock Tower

During a late Thursday afternoon visit to the west side of the Ayer Mill Clock Tower, had a chance to see one of the Peregrines in the next box.  They have been spending much more time in the next box, on the perch outside the nest box, and othwise very near the nest box.  This suggests that the internal clocks are gearing up for the breeding season which may happen a bit early due to the weather!  The sky was clear and the lighting was exceptional. 



The pair flew around quite a bit and used the rooftop above the main entrance to 200 Merrimack Street as home base for the afternoon.  Lots of takeoffs and landings to watch!




One of the Peregrines landed on a utility pole on the south side of Merrimack Street near the intersection of South Union and Merrimack Street.  This allowed for some close looks and photos with a close up of the leg bands.  According to Tom French at MassWildlife, the “V5” black over green leg band indicates that “she” is the original nesting female in Lawrence and is about 11 years old!  Very cool to receive this important update!



The last image from these two days is of one the male balancing himself on the roof peak before departing in a dive.  The great light provided an opportunity to capture nice shots that included more leg band information.  The left leg band on the male shows 6*/4* black over green.  This is the original male in Lawrence and he was born in 2001 in Manchester, NH!


For more photos, click here!



Bald Eagles and a Goldeneye!

February 9, 2012 in Nearby Landbirds, Nearby Waterbirds

This Bald Eagle was a wonderful surprise one morning while turning left onto Canal Street from Marston Street.  Noticed this beauty perhced on a high branch overlooking the Spickett River.  Went to the parking lot at 25 Marston Street as it flew low and overhead in beautiful morning light.  It flew off over the river towards the east.  Just a momentary treat but a terrific way to start the day!



A few days earlier, likely the same Eagle was spotted from the south side of the river as it perched on an treetop branch overhanging the Merrimack River.  The Eagle kicked into flight mode in a big wide turn and headed up the Spickett River!




Just down the river on the south side and to the east of the Rt. 495 bridge a number of lingering winter ducks were  chasing each other.  Here  a Common Goldeneye is lifting off to fly away.  These are beautiful diving ducks that have been on the river for the past few months along with Buffleheads and other winter ducks.  The Goldeneye has a striking yellow eye and distinctive white patches on its cheek.


 Click here to access a handful of additional photos!



Peregrines on a Sunday morning!

February 6, 2012 in Near the Clock Tower

During a Sunday morning visit with cool temps and sunny clear skies, the Peregrines put on quite a show!  Initially they were on the rooftop pediments above 200 Merrimack Street.  Prey had been caught and breakfast time was at hand.  Then one of the peregrines was observed devouring a brown and black feathered bird. 



Then the peregrines flew off around to the side of the building.  The best vantage point was from the New Balance visitor/employee parking lot.  One of the peregrines was perched on the roof way above the New Balance entrance on South Union Street.  A security staff member from New Balance was in the lot and indicated that the peregrines have been noticed regularly by New Balance staffers in the building. 



Just a bit later one of the peregrines flew around some more and then landed in an unusual location not observed during prior visits.  It was on the roof peak of the small building occupied by B&D Advanced Warehousing at the corner of South Union and Merrimack Street.  It was at the west end of the roof peak.  It fluffed its feathers and looked like a stuffed animal from Vermont Teddy Bear Company!



More photos posted from this morning adventure.  Click here for additional online photos!

Mergansers and Belted Kingfisher!

February 5, 2012 in Nearby Waterbirds

This Common merganser is a regular visitor on the Merrimack river in Lawrence during the winter months.  This male diving duck is very distinctive in its plumage with white sides, black back, greenish head and red bill.  The female is more brownish overall and easy to tell apart from the male.  They tend to swim in small flocks and frequently gather near the area where the spicket river flows into the Merrimack across from Salvatore’s Restaurant.



This is the female Common Merganser.  They sit in the water just the same but again the plumage colors are quite different except for the long red bill.  These Mergansers are typically found together in floating groups.




Most unexpected on this early sunday morning was a visit from a Belted Kingfisher.  the Kingfisher tends to hang out near the edge of waterways always in the search of fresh food.  At first, the Kingfisher made a lot of its typical rattling type calls but from an unknown location.  Then it landed and perched on a nearby branch allowing for some beautiful views and photos!


Verizon Cell Tower action!

February 4, 2012 in Verizon Cell Tower

While preparing to depart Lawrence on Amesbury St. (Rt.  114) on a sunny and clear Friday afternoon, headed south towards the bridge.  Then looked over towards Pemberton Park, then back a bit over my right shoulder and up at the Verizon Cell tower building.  Two Peregrines on the cell tower caught my eye.  Had a fascinating time watching them takeoff and land on different parts of the tower.

For additional photos posted on my online photo site, click here

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