Eastern Bluebirds – North Andover

April 30, 2012 in Nearby Landbirds

Eastern Bluebirds have arrived on territory and are prepared for the breeding season.  A small flock appeared in the open woodlands of the Carter Fields Sanctuary last week.  The area was alive with Bluebird songs mixed in with Red-winged Blackbird calls.  This striking male shows the bright blue upperparts, reddish brown breast, and white belly.  This time of year they are known to forage on the ground for insects, earthworms, an spiders!

Peregrine eggs ready to hatch!

April 22, 2012 in In the Nest Box

As of late afternoon, Saturday, April 21, the Peregrines continue to incubate the 4 eggs in the nest box.  For a moment, the 4 eggs were left unattended during the incubation change over time.  This provides all of us with a nice clear view of the 4 brownish colored eggs.  They appear to be in excellent shape.  Based on the fourth and final egg being laid on Saturday, March 24th, Tom French at Mass Wildlife estimated an approximate incubation period of 28 days with a projection that chicks will hatch today or over the next few days.  Stay tuned to the New Balance webcam!

New Balance web cam link: http://lawrenceperegrines.com/awrence-falcon-cam/


Eagle Tribune article about Herons/Owls at Carter Fields

April 22, 2012 in Nearby Landbirds, Nearby Waterbirds

NORTH ANDOVER — The great blue heron, a slender and elegant water bird with a lavender hue and a long pointed beak, makes its nest in the tops of dead trees in wetlands.  Beavers build their lodges in ponds they have created in wooded areas. Read the rest of this entry →

Peregrines close to hatch date!

April 21, 2012 in Near the Clock Tower

The male and female continue to take turns incubating the eggs.  Had another opportunity to observe the nest on Thursday p.m. while showing Jim McCoy from the Essex County Ornithological Club  some of the local birding hot spots in the Lawrence area.  The female was perched on a rooftop area on the west wing of the New Balance building.  She ruffled her feathers moments before taking flight in a westerly direction.  The photos showed her black over green “V5” leg bands.

While watching the New Balance webcam this morning around 8:30 am, my wife and I had a chance to observe the 4 eggs all in good shape in the nest while the peregrine on duty was stretching inside the nest box.  Accoridng to Tom French at Mass Wildlife, we should see the eggs hatch any day now!  Keep an eye on the cam and make a post when you see hatching activity!

Handful of additional photos posted online: http://www.pbase.com/birdshots/image/142814464   Click “next in upper right corner to advance frames!


Kestrel mobbed by Crows

April 20, 2012 in Nearby Landbirds

This female American Kestrel has been mobbed by Crows numerous times earlier in the week.  The mobbing has taken place with one or both Kestrels in or near the cavity opening to the nest.  They seem to tolerate the mobbing but only up to a certain point.  One of the Kestresl seems to get fed up and then the big chase is on as the Kestrel will then chase the mobbing crow away from the nest area.  The mobbing gets fairly close at times.  Fascinating to watch the interplay!

More photos posted on line:  http://www.pbase.com/birdshots/image/142785366   Click “next” in upper right to advance frames.

Great Blue Herons – West Boxford

April 20, 2012 in Nearby Waterbirds

The Great Blue Herons are busy building their nests at the heron rookery located on the North Andover/West Boxford town line.  Currently, there are about 40 nesting pairs of Great Blue Herons with most females already incubating eggs.  They continue to fortify their nests with new branches secured nearby and transported back to the nest.  Most of the massive stick platform nests are in tall, dead, white pine trees that are surrounded by shallow water below.  The herons spend a great deal of time on nest construction or repair from off season damage.  Besides feeding each other, a great deal of time is spent on preening and hanging out.  Great Blue Herons typically produce clutch sizes of four eggs!

More photos posted online at:  http://www.pbase.com/birdshots/image/142785356

Great Horned Owl/owlets – Boxford/North Andover

April 16, 2012 in Nearby Landbirds

Returned to the Heron Rookery located on the West Boxford/North Andover town line on Saturday morning.  The weather was spectacular with bright sun, clear skies, warm temps, and a soft breeze.  On my prior visit, had a chance to locate the Great Horned Owl on nest in one of the white pines.  On Saturday, my hope was to view and possibly photograph the mother and the owlets.  With God’s grace, the morning was a blessing beyond description! 

At first, just the mother and one owlet appeared.  The mother then flew a few times in and out of the nest into nearby dense vegetation.  This provided opportunities for some nice flight images.  Then the second owlet appeared.  The mother then spent some time on a nearby perch.  She seemed to be searching and scanning for prey.  She then returned to her bambinos and they all nestled together.  That was my cue to leave them be and hit the gates!

For those with an interest, a series of photos are posted online for further viewing: http://www.pbase.com/birdshots/image/142722800         Click “next” in upper right corner to advance frames!

For specifics on the location, here is the link that provided full info as well as a trail map: http://www.ecga.org/explore_and_engage/view_property/1051-carter_fields#

Carter Fields is located in an area with a significant base of conserved land owned by the town of North Andover, including the Mazurenko Farm (104 acres), Carter Hill (27 acres), and Barker Hill (55 acres). All of these parcels and Carter Fields are part of the Lake Cochichewick watershed, North Andover’s sole source of drinking water.

Peregrines: sharing the incubating duties!

April 14, 2012 in In the Nest Box

The Peregrines are truly sharing the duties of incubating the 4 eggs.  Over the past week they have both been close by the nest much of the time even as the other is in the nest box and on the eggs.  Stopped by Wednesday morning and observed the male preening on the west wing rooftop of the New Balance building.  It is fascinating to watch the care and precision as they are preening each feather from base to tip. 

In the afternoon, stopped by and noticed the female on the perch stick that protrused from the nest box.  She went through a ritual of bowing and shrugging while lookingin at the male.  It seemed like she was saying, your time is up and the switch over time is now.  She seemed to take extra time to coax the male of the eggs.  He finally exits the nest box.  It was natural to expect the female to then enter the nest box.  Not so!  At least not right away. 

To date, the change over during incubation has usually called for one of them to enter the nest box while the other (still incubating) prepares to depart.  This time, the female turns around and does a big aerial loop around the west wing of the New Balance building and then loops back in under three minutes.  She then re-enters the nest box.  Had a chance to view the nest box cam on my phone at the same time to observe the switch over.  Talk ablout the joy of our modern electronic devices, never mind the totally excellent New Balance falcon cam!!

Photo highlights of change over sequence posted online.  Link to photos:  http://www.pbase.com/birdshots/image/142642170



Kestrel pair perched together

April 12, 2012 in Nearby Landbirds

Fascinating to watch a kestrel pair prepare for the mating season.  This pair has established their territory and remain regularly perched close to the nest.  The female has been spending most of her time perched on the opening to the nest cavity.  She scans the area for possible prey and potential threats in the neighborhood.


A few more photos posted online at link below:


Kestrels: perch to perch!

April 5, 2012 in Nearby Landbirds

The female Kestrel continues to be very active around the nest area. She has been moving around from perch to perch in search of food.  According to the Allaboutbirds website Kestrels normally hunt by day. You may see a kestrel scanning for prey from the same perch all day long—or changing perches every few minutes.”  This was true for the Kestrel this morning as it was very intense in scanning the low ground cover for insects and small mammals.  The bright sun provided a nice look at her boldly patterned head and beautiful rufous barred back feathers.

 A handful of additional photos are posted online for those with an interest:


Click “next” in upper right to advance frames……enjoy!!