Great Horned Owl on nest – West Boxford

March 29, 2014 in Great Horned Owl

The Great Horned Owl on nest in the Carter Fields Conservation Area in West Boxford appears to be sitting a bit higher.  This suggests that she may have hatched her egg or eggs and we need to await the appearance of the first owlet in the days ahead!  Great Blue Herons have returned to this rookery, but in much smaller numbers than any in any recent years.  Looks like many of the nests were blown down over the winter.  Stay tuned!

Peregrine Falcon – male stays close to nest box!

March 29, 2014 in Near the Clock Tower

The female has now laid her fourth, and likely penultimate, or final egg.  The pair stays close to the nest box with the female performing over 2/3’s of the incubating duties.  The male is seen nearby the nest and frequently does a flyby on any nearby intruders to let others know that they are not the least bit welcome in the air space around the Clock Tower!  This image shows the male after making numerous aerial loops preparing to land atop the ball at the peak of the weathervane.

Great Horned Owl & owlet – Methuen

March 29, 2014 in Great Horned Owl

The Great Horned Owl and little one continue at the Methuen Heron Rookery.  So far, no indications of another owlet, but we will keep a sharp eye open for other one!  No sign of Papa Bear.  The rookery is now filling up with Great Blue Herons returning to the rookery and chasing each other in normal courtship behavior.  Stay tuned!

Bald Eagle on nest!

March 27, 2014 in Bald Eagle

The Bald Eagle pair near the Merrimack River in Essex County is back on nest again this year!  In 2013, this pair raised one chick.  the growth of the 2013 chick was monitored and documented on tis blog last year.  The egg or eggs were laid around middle/late February and hatched mid/late March.  The female is now sitting much higher in the nest and we await first sightings of this year’s brood!  According to Birds of North America Online:  “At hatching, covered with light-gray down, initially wet but dries quickly, eyes brown, gape and legs pink, and skin pink.  Capable of limited locomotion.  Second down begins to emerge at 9–11 d. Flight feathers emerge at 2–3 wk; body contour feathers begin emerging with the humeral tract at 3–4 wk. Great variability in emergence of contour feathers, such that same-aged individuals may look different. Feathers on head and back emerge at 4–5 wk;  Maximum growth attained at about 3–4 wk of age. Male develops flight feathers and asymptotic size more rapidly than female, such that measurement of wing-chord, central rectrice, and eighth primary not sexually dimorphic during nestling period, although these characters show considerable sexual dimorphism in fully developed birds.”

4 Photos:



Peregrine male hanging out near the nest

March 26, 2014 in Near the Clock Tower

The amount of incubating the male does depends on the couple’s preference.  Some males share more incubation duties than others.  In the middle of the incubation period, the male is on the eggs 30-50% of the daytime hours.  Towards the end of incubation when the eggs are about to hatch, the female spends most of the time on the nest.  She wants to be there to assist the chicks as they break out of their shells.

So which parent is on the eggs right now?  If it’s the middle of the night, it’s the female.  Otherwise, you’ll have to watch closely at “shift change” to see which bird is larger!

Great Horned Owl, Methuen – Mother and owlet!

March 26, 2014 in Great Horned Owl

The Great Horned Owl on nest in Methuen has at least one owlet in the nest.   The nest is located at the Great Blue Heron Rookery adjacent to Nevins Farm MSPCA and the Methuen Rail Trail in Methuen.  The first sighting of the mom on nest was Feb. 12.  It looks like the owlet may be close to 2 weeks old.  When Great Horned Owl eggs hatch, the downy owlets are the size of newborn chickens. Their mother broods them day and night. A few weeks later, the owlets can be left alone while both adults resume hunting at twilight. Great Horned Owl young remain in the nest for about six weeks, then climb out onto nearby branches. They begin taking short flights at seven weeks, and can fly well at 9-10 weeks.

Bald Eagle: subadult

March 12, 2014 in Bald Eagle

While watching gulls and crows peck away at a dead carp on the ice in front of the Bashara Boathouse on the Merrimack River in Lawrence this morning, noticed a likely Bald Eagle flying eastbound from Rt. 93 direction.  Reached for camera and lost sight of the eagle.  All of a sudden it was almost right overhead.  It circled the carp feeding frenzy and then lumbered down river towards the dam in Lawrence.  A few minutes later, headed to the dam and crossed over to north side for a look back at trees and ice.  Sure enough, a subadult was on the ice just west of the dam and on the south side of the river.  It was feeding on some unknown delight.  A further scan showed a second subadult nearby.  The played a bit in aerial flight near shore and then one of them flew west and the other remained near the dam.  Nice treat on the way to work!

Great Horned Owl: West Boxford Heron Rookery

March 11, 2014 in Great Horned Owl

The Great Horned Owl continues on nest in the Great Blue Heron Rookery.  No Herons have arrived yet an the number of Heron nests in place from last year has been reduced dramatically.  Many of the trees have been blown or have fallen over as well.  It will be interesting to see what happens when the herons return this year!

Peregrines copulating again!

March 9, 2014 in On the Clock Tower

The peregrines continue in copulation mode.  Had a short opportunity to fly by on Sunday night just before sunset and observed them both make aerial loops prior to the action on the back end of the Clock Tower weathervane.  They remained together for 9 seconds suggesting that the date for eggs is close and at this point possibly next week around March 20th…the first day of spring!

Peregrine on nest perch

March 9, 2014 in In the Nest Box

Peregrine Falcon female resting on perch at nest box in beautiful light minutes before sunset!