random wildlife

Pictoral ‘Ode’ to “the Giving Tree”

Site 1

On site 1 there was a large dead pitch pine on a point that seemed to recruit birds, especially raptors,herons and egrets, although last year flickers at least attempted to nest in the trunk.  I affectionately referred to it as “the giving tree.” Well here in northeast Massachusetts we are in the mist of another storm, but the last storm blew the decaying tree completely over so it will no longer attract birds…All good things….So here are some photos I have gotten of the variety of birds over the years that have perched on the tree. Merlins especially used the tree, so added a few more pics of them.  It was an amazing tree!

great blue heron

red-tailed hawk
P1020031 (1)
great egret
P1040669 (1)
imm. black-crowned night heron
peregrine falcon
american kestrel
next 3. merlin
coopers hawk
Imm. bald eagle
P1150498 (1)


Leucistic Hawk Appearance

Site 2

Owl wise there were a pair of barred owls hooting it up all late summer into early fall. Have yet to get a visual but they are fun to hear never-the-less. Now the real reason for the site update is that the leucistic red-tailed hawk is still around. I just happened to see it glide by, thought it disappeared just as quickly, but it decided to land on a tall spruce about 100 yards away. It really is a striking hawk, and I am still amazed that it has acquired more color as its aged. If you please, compare it to Phil Brown’s excellent photo back in october 2011


Just a Pair of Hawks

Site 2

What is nice, was that it was a pair of Red-Shouldered Hawks, They may have been just passing through, but hopefully they will stick around. No Screech owls, but some activity to summarize since its been a long time since a update here. Barred owls were around all summer and fall and heard almost daily even during the day. But since the cold weather has moved in, its been tough to say if they are still around since its harder to hear them.
Also the leucistic hawk was seen briefly a couple times in January 2014. So brief though that no photo documentation was taken.


‘White’ Hawk Sighting

Site 2

It seems this is the time of year is when I get to see this mostly leucistic red-tailed hawk. Last September was the last time I saw it. It looks as though its has a bit more coloration on its head, I guess that this is the same hawk but after a molt some coloration came back around the head? what are the chances this is a different hawk? still to far away at ~125 meters (410+ feet) so this is the best I could do.


3-27-13 go 6 months with out seeing this hawk and now see it twice in as many days, saw it first thing this morning on my way into work, the sun had yet to get above the tree line, but it was quite a bit closer.

P1000399 (1) P1000406 (1)

Eagles Galore

Not often you have 6+ bald eagles with-in 10 minutes of our house, so an easy time to take a look at them. they were still ~200 yards away on a mostly frozen Wenham Lake (they were first reported Jan 4th 2013) and even appeared in some local papers, before we had the time to look for them, but had fun watching for awhile on cedar st. with a couple of other people. A total of 6 were seen at any one time, but I think there has been reports of more.

and its becoming an family owl challenge as my daughter gets a point for following a flushed barred owl, and my son get a point for first hearing a pair of duetting great horned owls both at appleton farms yesterday afternoon/evenings on a family walk.

Great Horned Attack on Mom Great Blue Heron

One of the cool things about these wildlife cams is that we get so see things that one would normally never see. Great Horned Owls will often nest among Heron rookeries, and it is known that Great Horned Owls will prey upon Great Blue Herons so lots of people wondered how they get along? AT least in this case, not so well.

Cornell set up a cam earlier in the spring of 2012 to watch a great blue heron nest, little did the know what they would document! There are 2 attacks in this one video, plus another attack (you can search youtube for it) a day or 2 later. I don’t think this owl is nesting among the herons? But very intense and interesting to say the least! It is interesting to note that the owl attacks the head/neck area in both instances, yet the GBH switched sides.

Acrobatic Leucistic Hawk

Site 2

Just a lucky shot, my kids called me outside and told me hawks were battling, the white one was top of a large spruce, so I took aim as I pressed the button the other red tailed hawk appeared ‘out of nowhere’ and buzzed the white hawk. Really didn’t know what just happened until I looked at the pic, as I never actually saw the hawk do the summersault. However, the distance involved was ~ 450 feet (140 meters) so too far to get a good quality photo. So incase it is not clear, the head is facing us, with the talons in the air and tail off up and to the left. Just an interesting frozen moment in time.
This ‘white’ red tailed hawk has been around since March 2011, But this is the first of my sightings from here since early spring 2012. Nice to see it around still.

Broad-Necked Root Borer Part Deux

Site 2

Just over 2 years ago, I met my first broad-necked borer it was large and looked intimidating. I read up on them a bit, but I have not seen another one until 2 days ago. This time on my wife’s potted small sunflower plant. Its ovipositor was not visible, but I don’t know if it is a male or female. Although it did seem a bit smaller than the first one. Also of note this little superzoom camera has some wonderful macro capabilities. Since its slow owl wise for the next month or so hope you enjoy these closeups.(per usual click picture 2x to see larger version)

Gruesome Mystery

So I was checking out a place I hadn’t been to for years, trying to find some long-eared owls, I found lots of scattered pellets here and there, but no concentration of them that would indicate a favorite roost. Then at first glance I thought I found a pair of owl roosting 10-15 feet up in a group of red cedars near a salt marsh. On second glance I thought it was some black trash bag, (I was on the shady side), then ok it has feathers but its not alive, I was looking at its back and it was dark, I was thinking dead owl? dead harrier? made my way around to the front and the front was light, sort of streaked, juv. cooper’s hawk?
Then I saw the feet not raptors talons, mmmm, I don’t think I could see the head. After some ID work I think I have the ID down. But I would like to see some other ID if others come to a independent conclusion. It may always be a mystery how and why it got there in the first place. And struck out on the owl front.

Warning a bit graphic, so I put them in a small gallery format, just click if you want to see larger versions.

Leukistic Hawk Territory?

Site 2

Back in april 2011 there was a ‘cool red tailed hawk’ flying about, I saw every so often during the summer and fall, but recently or maybe I have just noticed more, it has been defending the area around site 2. I saw it on January 1 2012 chase another red tailed hawk at full speed. Yesterday another normal looking red tailed was soaring fairly low and a few crows started to give chase and the white red tailed came in behind the pack of crows, and seemed to chase the crows away? perhaps helping out a mate? then landed on top of a row of pines about ~100 yards away. Since there aren’t any owls at this site using the boxes maybe this hawk can keep things interesting.