Common Goldeneyes: Merrimack River

November 30, 2017 in Nearby Waterbirds

_W7I0306-001The Common Goldeneyes are back and being seen in larger numbers along the Merrimack River in North Andover and Lawrence.  The Common Goldeneye is a medium-sized sea-duck.  During winter months, they migrate to coastal and inland waterways.  They dive for their food and typically feast on small fish and aquatic plants.  They may fall prey to eagles, hawks, and owls.

This pair was part of a much larger contingent seen in flight west bound just above the surface of the Merrimack River.

Bald Eagle: Merrimack River

November 16, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I7508-001In these late fall days, Bald Eagles are seen both solo and in pairs along the Merrimack River in Lawrence and North Andover.  They perch high up on branches that overhang the river.  They tend to select locations that provide excellent visibility up and down the river.  Bald eagle winter roosting sites typically contain open water, ample food, limited human disturbance, and protection from predators. Preferred roosts are usually coniferous or deciduous super-canopy trees.

This adult Bald Eagle did have leg bands.  They were only visible later when the Eagle departed in flight.  Stay tuned!

Lawrence Peregrines: pair around Clock Tower

November 15, 2017 in On the Clock Tower

_W7I7433-001Both adult peregrines have been lounging around the Clock Tower in recent days.  This is very normal for this time of year, as it is important to maintain territorial defense around the nest box.  This morning the female was seen on an upper ledge on the west side of the Clock Tower.  This has been a regular morning perch location.  The male was found around the corner on a short protruding steel beam just below the roof line on the south side of the mill complex along Merrimack Street.  It is a prime spot to bask in the morning sun and out of the wind!

Peregrine Falcons: Woburn pair

November 15, 2017 in Peregrine Falcon Woburn

_W7I7170-001A beautiful morning with clear skies, bright sun and light winds!  Both adult peregrines continue to be seen most days around the quarry area.  This morning the male was perched at the front edge of the nest ledge with the female nearby.  She departed in pursuit of a passing hawk and then promptly returned, likely after engaging in a little territorial defense.  She returned to a regular perch atop Pinnacle Rock.

Peregrine Falcons: Woburn pair on pole

November 12, 2017 in Peregrine Falcon Woburn

_W7I6964-001Made a visit to the Peregrine Falcons in Woburn on sunny Sunday afternoon.  Discovered both adults perched on the double cross bar utility pole located on the south side of the main parking lot.  It was a beautiful afternoon with bright light, little wind and temps in middle 40’s.  Had a nice opportunity to pause for closer looks at the female as she was resting with a full crop after a recent meal.

_W7I6964-002Took a moment to observe and appreciate the nostril cone; falcons have a cone (baffle) just inside each nostril that disrupts the air flow and reduces the pressure of the air entering the respiratory system…also a nice look at the tomial tooth, known as the “killing tooth.” It is a notch on the cutting edge of the upper beak that is used to sever the prey’s spinal column.

Lawrence Peregrines: Verizon Cell Tower!

November 10, 2017 in Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Verizon Cell Tower

_W7I6768-001As the late fall temperatures drop below 30 degrees, the Peregrines start to spend more time at the nearby Verizon Cell Tower near the corner of Hampshire and Canal Streets.  They tend to perch on the fifth and sixth floor ledges located on the south side of the building.  These ledges are next to hot air exhaust vents.  These vents provide excellent heat during the colder months.

Found both adults happily perched near one another on sixth floor ledges in late afternoon.

Lawrence Peregrines: around Clock Tower

November 9, 2017 in Near the Clock Tower

_W7I6692-001The Lawrence Peregrines continue to loaf and enjoy the cooler fall days around the extended Clock Tower area.  Located the adult male this morning on one of the triangular roof pediments.  The morning was filled with bright sun, cobalt blue skies, light wind from the SE, and temps just over 50F.  The male looked a bit bedraggled with feathers blowing in the wind.  The female was nearby on the wets side of Clock Tower on a ledge above the clock face.




Peregrine Falcons: Woburn preening

November 1, 2017 in Peregrine Falcon Woburn, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts

_W7I6421-001Had a nice visit to Woburn quarry this morning under sunny skies, calm wind conditions, and temps in high 30’s.  Both adult peregrines were seen perched in regular locations on the quarry wall.  Lots of time was dedicated to scratching, preening, and vocalizing. Peregrines say “ee-chup” when they are looking at another peregrine.  They say it softly to their mates during ledge displays and more loudly when a new peregrine shows up.   The new peregrine may be an intruder or a potential mate.  It takes a lot of practice, listening and watching from the ground, to be able to tell whether an ee-chup means “Hello, my love” or “I see you, Intruder!”   Unless you can see both peregrines having the conversation, don’t assume you know what ee-chup means.  This morning, they were just expressing fondness towards each other!