Snowy Owls, Salisbury Beach State Park. Photos by John Harrison.
Snowy Owls, Salisbury Beach State Park. Photos by Kim Nagy.
Photographer Kim Nagy (L) and photographer Peter Lewicki (R), Salisbury Beach State Park. Photos by John Harrison.
As is said, when one door closes, another opens. In this case the other door was once again owls. This time with the pair of Great Horned Owls at Fresh Pond in Cambridge. This pair successfully fledged two owlets last year and had another two born in March of this year. One of those two fell out of the nest early and didn’t survive. The remaining owlet, on April 12th, also fell out of the nest. However, it was a bit older and stronger and instinct kicked in and its wings opened as a parachute and the little owlet made a soft landing on its feet, seemingly unhurt. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3lVQT-GJQw
Great Horned Owlet, Fresh Pond, Cambridge, the day it fell from the nest, April 12th (L) and on April 17th (R). Photos by John Harrison.
It sat on the ground, day after day, looking around curiously. It didn’t seem hurt but we couldn’t be sure. At this point, birder Susan Moses surrounded the area with ‘caution’ tape to keep watchers from getting too close and a sign was posted for dog walkers to keep their dogs leashed because of the ‘grounded owl.’ .
Fresh Pond Owlet site. Photos by John Harrison.
Owlet on April 18th, with mother owl on a tree above watching. Photos by John Harrison.
Mother owl in flight with prey (L) and mother about to feed prey to the owlet (R). Photos by Jim Renault.
Certainly mom and dad were encouraging their owlet to move overnight. Great Horned Owls are nocturnal so there was certainly much activity night after night getting the owlet stronger. Two weeks after the fall from the nest, April 26th, it was obvious that the owlet was getting stronger. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=henkjKGGBXU
On Saturday, April 28th, a milestone was reached for the owlet. We watched it take its first short flight. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gQRs9uUgxQ
The owlet learning to fly. Photos by John Harrison.
Mother and owlet together, May 3rd. Photos by Kim Nagy.
On Friday, May 11th, the mother and owlet were together way up in a pine, triumphant after the month-long perilous journey. In coming days the owlet will be harder and harder to find, which is as it should be. As I have observed through the years, birds of prey are attentive parents. The mother and father owls were watching their offspring 24 hours a day. They fed it over night and kept it from harm. Therefore many of us had the rare good fortune to watch this drama unfold. It is reminiscent of that other great Cambridge birds of prey drama, the Red-tailed Hawks, Buzz and Ruby, of 185 Alewife in 2010 and 2011. The Cambridge Chronicle related the story of our heroic little owlet in its May 3rd edition. http://cambridge.wickedlocal.com/news/20180503/after-fall-from-nest-great-horned-owlet-finally-takes-flight-in-fresh-pond
While watching our owlet drama unfold we would occasionally see a warbler land on a nearby tree. The owlet fell from the nest on April 12th, which is the time of year when the early arrival spring migrants, the warblers, begin filtering in. When May began, our owl-watching usually coincided with visits to Mount Auburn Cemetery to see if any warblers had arrived. I would check on the owlet around 6:30am then go to Mount Auburn for a while and then go back to the owlet after leaving Mount Auburn. The usual suspect warblers were arriving right on time – Yellow-rumped’s, Black-throated Blues and Greens, Chestnut-sided’s, Magnolias, Yellows, Pines, a couple of Blackburnians and a couple of Cape May’s. I was lucky enough to catch a half hour with a Scarlet Tanager on May 9th, but missed the rare Cerulean Warbler that wowed a bunch of watchers a few days before early in the morning. My one and only Cerulean was at Mount Auburn Cemetery in April of 2009. It is uncommon around here.
Black & White Warbler (L) and Scarlet Tanager (R), Mount Auburn Cemetery. Photos by John Harrison.
The elusive Cerulean Warbler, Mount Auburn Cemetery, April 2009. Photos by John Harrison.
We had another uncommon visitor in late April and early May at the Arlington Reservoir, A 1st year male Blue Grosbeak, which attracted birders from all over. The bird pretty much stayed at the water’s edge on one path at the reservoir so was relatively easy to find day after day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryJ8_7UuuX4
Blue Grosbeak, Arlington Reservoir. Photos by John Harrison.
Plum Island was awash with warblers on Saturday, May 5th. Photographer Kim Nagy and I intended to go to Hellcat Trail to look for them there but there was so much going on at various points along the road – especially the usually exciting S-curve area – that we didn’t get to Hellcat until a couple of hours later.
Prairie Warbler (L) and Black & White (R), Plum Island. Photos by Kim Nagy.
Magnolia Warbler (L), Black-throated Blue (R), Plum Island. Photos by John Harrison.
Northern Parula (L), Yellow-rumped Warbler (R), Plum Island. Photos by John Harrison.
On May 9th and 10th photographer Kim Nagy was at Magee Marsh in Oak Harbor, Ohio on the southern shore of Lake Erie. It is one of the premiere spring migration locations in the country. She had many exhilarating moments at the marsh, adding several new species to her long list,
Magnolia Warbler (L), Bald Eagle nest, (R), Magee Marsh. Photos by Kim Nagy.
Blue-winged Warbler (L), American Redstart (R), Magee Marsh. Photos by Kim Nagy.
Yellow Warbler (L), Scarlet Tanager (R), Magee Marsh. Photos by Kim Nagy.
Cape May Warbler (L), Blackburnian Warbler (R), Magee Marsh. Photos by Kim Nagy.
Prothonotary Warbler, Magee Marsh. Photos by Kim Nagy.