Common Merganser on the Merrimack River

January 5, 2017 in Nearby Waterbirds

_W7I6488-001The Merrimack River continues to host an ever-changing raft of wintering ducks.  One of the more striking ducks is the Common Merganser.  This large fish eating duck is seen in small flocks along the river.  It uses its serrated bill to catch fish underwater!

Common Goldeneyes in flight

December 6, 2016 in Nearby Waterbirds

_w7i1606-001The wintering ducks are being seen in larger numbers on the Merrimack River in Lawrence and North Andover.  Among the ducks are Hooded Mergansers, Red-breasted Mergansers, and Common Goldeneyes.  Always a treat to watch and photograph the Common Goldeneyes in flight!

Great Blue Herons: Merrimack River

September 22, 2016 in Nearby Waterbirds

_w7i4655-001A large number of Great Blue Herons are now being seen along the shorelines of the Merrimack River in Lawrence and North Andover.  They have been very active foraging in shallow pools and at the edge of the river shoreline.  These large majestic birds are a joy to watch, especially when they launch into flight just above the water!  This Great Blue was seen this morning in flight, from the landing at North Main St. in North Andover, heading east to join two other Herons.

Greater Yellowlegs – North Andover

September 15, 2016 in Nearby Waterbirds

_w7i4329-001The Merrimack River has been at record low water levels these past few weeks.  Along the shoreline a number of shorebirds have been seen over the past few weeks.  This morning a pair of Greater Yellowlegs were foraging among the rocky shoreline near North Main St. in North Andover!

Wood Duck!

April 16, 2016 in Nearby Waterbirds

CF2C7474-001Wood Ducks are being seen in many lakes and ponds in Essex County.  The beautiful male Wood Ducks are considered by many to be the most striking and colorful of all North American ducks.  Their brightly colored plumage and stunning red eyes make for a memorable sight!  Unlike most other ducks, the Wood ducks are known for raising two broods per season!  This Wood Duck was recently seen at the Ward Reservation in Andover.

Great Blue Heron in flight

April 16, 2016 in Nearby Waterbirds

CF2C7168-001The Great Blue Herons are back and very busy in nest building mode in colonies around Essex County.  These herons nest and roost in colonies located in swamps and marshes. The majestic, deliberate flight of the Great Blue Heron is a wonderful sight to behold!

Great Blue Herons: return to Carter Fields!

March 22, 2016 in Nearby Waterbirds

CF2C4203-001The Great Blue Heron, is a slender and elegant water bird with a lavender hue and a long pointed beak, and makes its nest in the tops of dead trees in wetlands.

Recently, there have between 40 and 50 active great blue heron nests in a rookery at Carter Fields, an 85-acre parcel of land with a huge beaver pond in North Andover at the Boxford line.  This year, it looks like we’ll have maybe active 10 nests. The land is owned by the Essex County Greenbelt Association, a nonprofit organization that owns thousands of acres in Essex County for the purpose of preserving natural habitats, the county’s agricultural heritage and scenic landscapes.

Herons typically do not migrate far. Adults will return to their previous nests, fix them up and reuse them to raise a new brood. The females lay between three and seven eggs in late March or early April, and the chicks hatch by May.

Tufted Duck: North Andover

December 28, 2015 in Nearby Waterbirds

CF2C0774-001While scanning among the wintering ducks in the NE corner of Lake Cochichewick this morning under clear skies, NW winds blowing 12+mph and gusting over 20 mph, and the wind chill at 18 degrees, observed Scaups, Ruddy Ducks, Ring-necked Ducks, Hoodies, Buffleheads, and a few Common Goldeneyes.  A wonderful treat to find the lingering Tufted Duck like a buried treasure in the group!

Common Merganser

February 18, 2015 in Nearby Waterbirds

The Common Mergansers have been seen on the Merrimack River in Lawrence over the past 2 months.  Both males and females keep busy diving for fish.  these Mergansers are beauties with the creamy white breast and flanks, dark backs, greenish black heads and bright red serrated bills used for grabbing fish!

Great Blue Heron cruising to the east!

October 20, 2014 in Nearby Waterbirds

Lots of Great Blues along the Merrimack River in Lawrence and North Andover.  They are always majestic flyers and a joy to watch.  This one flew by heading east after passing under the Rt. 495 overpass in Lawrence.  It met up down river with another Great Blue and they had fun chasing after each other…looked like a fun time!