Bird Observer

New England Birding Journal

Bird Observer is a New England-based bimonthly journal for birders of all skill levels. We are a nonprofit organization supported by subscribers, and staffed by volunteers. We publish original articles on birding locations, on avian populations and natural history, on regional rarities, book reviews and field notes, bird sightings, photographs, and artwork.

Bird Observer supports the right of all people to enjoy birding and nature in a safe and welcoming environment free from discrimination and harassment, be it sexual, racial, or barriers for people with disabilities.

Feature Articles from the Latest Issue:

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Great Salt Bay Farm Wildlife Preserve

Birding Great Salt Bay Farm Wildlife Preserve in Lincoln County, Maine

If I were limited to birding just one location in the State of Maine, regardless of the time of year, without hesitation I would choose Great Salt Bay Farm Wildlife Preserve in Nobleboro. In winter, Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers, and Common Loons are regulars. With spring come the migrating warblers and returning Ospreys. In the summer, the meadows are alive with noisy Bobolinks, and the autumn brush is filled with a diverse array of sparrows. Great Salt Bay is Maine birding at its best.

Broad-winged Hawk. Photograph by Brian Rusnica.

Notes from the Ground: Observations on Broad-winged Hawk Migration in Massachusetts and New England

Massachusetts birders are fortunate to live where they can view one of the greatest spectacles in the natural world: the daytime September migration of thousands of Broad-winged Hawks (Buteo platypterus) on their way from the eastern deciduous forest of North America to Central and South America. Nothing can adequately convey the awesome primal beauty of thousands of hawks spiraling ever higher in the heavens until they turn to glide to the southwest on silent wings. You need to see it live. Here I discuss some of what I have learned over 48 years of marveling at and studying the migration of our most abundant diurnal raptor.

Eastern Massachusetts Hawk Watch

Fall Hawkwatching in Massachusetts

The spectacle of a big raptor migration is undoubtedly one of our state’s can’t-miss birding experiences. A truly massive Broad-winged Hawk flight has to be seen to be believed. Binoculars are a must for any hawkwatcher, but little else is needed to get started: water, sun protection and a warm layer. Please join us at a hawkwatch site near you this fall.

Snowy Plover. April 17, 2017. Goosewing Beach, Little Compton. Photograph by Geoff Dennis.

Third Report of the Rhode Island Avian Records Committee: Summary of Historical Records of Rare Birds in Rhode Island and Review of Recent Reports Through 2018

This report describes the Rhode Island Avian Records Committee’s (RIARC) evaluation of 94 records, primarily from 2016–2018, but with nine from earlier years (1998–2015). These records are summarized below within a comprehensive list of all the species and distinctive subspecies on the Rhode Island Review List, as well as several species reported in Rhode Island for the first time.

Excerpt from S. Waldo Bailey Journal - www.HoffmanBirdClub.org

Nature Writing at its Best: The Journals of S. Waldo Bailey

Waldo Bailey was born in West Newbury, Massachusetts, in 1885 and moved to Pittsfield around 1918. He was an active and avid naturalist all his life, who not only made constant, detailed observations, but also painstakingly recorded them in his journals. He was also a teacher of natural history, and a pioneer in the development of color photography. Seemingly self-taught, he had a prodigious depth of knowledge of animals and minerals, but especially of birds and botany.

MUSINGS FROM THE BLIND BIRDER  Random Thoughts from the Raspberry Patch

Musings from the Blind Birder: Random Thoughts from the Raspberry Patch

We are puzzled periodically by the details that birders provide for unusual bird sightings. A northeastern Vermont report of a Bohemian Waxwing in early April was unusual for its lateness in the region. This observation thus merited details about the sighting. Details were indeed provided but left us shaking our heads: “Sitting atop a tree.” Okay, so any bird we see sitting atop a tree is a Bohemian Waxwing? Similarly, an unusual report of a Rough-legged Hawk was accompanied by “perched in a tree.” Perhaps we need to periodically remind ourselves that regional reviewers require field marks, habitat descriptions, photos, recordings, or similar details or documented evidence to help them determine the validity of an unusual sighting.

Osprey with a captured vole. Photograph by the author.

Field Notes: Osprey Captures Vole

Although fish account for more than 99 percent of their diet, there have been rare reports of Osprey taking nonfish prey (Bierregaard et al. 2020). For example, Proctor (1977) and Campbell and Hillary (2009) reported instances of Osprey capturing meadow voles. In addition, Jung (2016) reported a swimming long-tailed vole captured by an Osprey in British Columbia.

About Books: Small and Focused

About Books: Small and Focused

Birders always want more. A longer life list. More time in the field. More identification field marks. More information on where to see birds. And, of course, more birds and books about birds. It is no surprise that many books about birds tend to be large.

JOHN KRICHER

At a Glance: June 2022 Revealed

Oh no! Another mystery butt shot, you say? I say, oh yes. Although it is not an everyday birding occurrence, there are times when the view a birder obtains of an unidentified species is not the definitive profile or ideal flight shot that would be most desirable. In such situations of less expected views, proper identification will require knowledge of less frequently needed field marks. This issue’s puzzler falls in this category.

Bird Observer's Fiftieth Anniversary Photo, Video, and Writing Contest

Bird Observer's Fiftieth Anniversary Photo, Video, and Writing Contest

There will be one grand prize winner in each of three categories: photo, video, and writing. Each grand prize winner will receive a $100 gift card to Bird Watcher’s General Store, Orleans, MA; a $100 gift card to Bird Watcher’s Supply and Gift, Newburyport, MA; a $100 gift card to Birds and Beans Coffee; and a two-year extension of his or her subscription to Bird Observer, in addition to being featured in the December 2022 issue of Bird Observer in print and on our website, www.birdobserver.org.

Not a subscriber yet? You can still browse the site and view enough content to see what a great resource you have in Bird Observer. We hope you'll agree with us and subscribe today.

Warbling Vireo

Warbling Vireo
Hop Brook WMA, Lee, MA

Lawrence's Warbler

Lawrence's Warbler
Ordway Reservation, West Newbury, MA

Blackburnian Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler
Crane Hill, Ipswich, MA

Bufflehead

Bufflehead
Ipswich River WS, Topsfield, MA

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl
Crane Beach, Ipswich, MA

Canada Warbler

Canada Warbler
Langford Pond, Rockport, MA

Egrets

Egrets
Parker River NWR, Plum Island, MA

Northern Wheatear

Northern Wheatear
Wachusett Reservoir, Sterling, MA

Ovenbird

Ovenbird
Cedar Pond WS, Hamilton, MA

Piping Plover

Piping Plover
Crane Beach, Ipswich, MA

Purple Sandpiper

Purple Sandpiper
Halibut Point Reservation, Rockport, MA

Red-eyed Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo
Atherton Connector, West Newbury, MA

White-faced Storm-Petrel

White-faced Storm-Petrel
Georges Bank

Brown Thrasher

Brown Thrasher
Halibut Point State Park, Rockport, MA

Ruddy Turnstone

Ruddy Turnstone
Sandy Point State Reservation, Plum Island, MA

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler
Parker River NWR, Plum Island, MA

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Parker River NWR, Plum Island, MA

American Golden Plover

American Golden Plover
Parker River NWR, Plum Island, MA

Black Tern

Black Tern
Sengekontacket Pond, Martha's Vineyard, MA

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper
Umbagog NWR, Errol, NH

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing
Washburn Family Forest, Clarksville, NH

Common Loon

Common Loon
Grafton Pond, Grafton, NH

Least Tern

Least Tern
Sandy Point State Reservation, Plum Island, MA

MacGillivray's Warbler

MacGillivray's Warbler
Lexington Community Farm, Lexington, MA

Red Knot

Red Knot
Sandy Point State Reservation, Plum Island, MA

Whimbrel

Whimbrel
Parker River NWR, Plum Island, MA

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawk
Parker River NWR, Plum Island, MA

White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow
Smith Pond, Enfield, NH

Northern Waterthrush

Northern Waterthrush
Gull Pond, Wenham, MA

Common Merganser

Common Merganser
Deer Island, Newburyport, MA

Veery

Veery
Oxbow NWR, Harvard, MA

Wilson's Snipe

Wilson's Snipe
Indian Stream Road, Pittsburg, NH

American Bittern

American Bittern
Parker River NWR, Plum Island, MA

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Golden-crowned Kinglet
Parker River NWR, Plum Island, MA

Pine Warbler

Pine Warbler
Hamlin Reservation, Ipswich, MA

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Black-throated Blue Warbler
Chubb Creek, Beverly Farms, MA

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper
Grafton Pond, Grafton, NH

Marbled Godwit

Marbled Godwit
Parker River NWR, Plum Island, MA

Virginia Rail

Virginia Rail
Ipswich River WS, Topsfield, MA

American Pipit

American Pipit
Wachusett Reservoir, Sterling, MA

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole
Coy Pond, Wenham, MA

Osprey

Osprey
Sandy Point State Reservation, Plum Island, MA

Barred Owl

Barred Owl
Great Bay NWR, Portsmouth, NH

Long-billed Dowitcher

Long-billed Dowitcher
Parker River NWR, Plum Island, MA

Ruffed Grouse

Ruffed Grouse
Nulhegan Basin, Silvio O. Conte NWR, Bloomfield, VT

Lark Sparrow

Lark Sparrow
Parker River NWR, Plum Island, MA

Black-throated Green Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler
Homestead Trail 45, Essex, MA

Blue-winged Warbler

Blue-winged Warbler
Martin H. Burnes WMA, Newbury, MA

Brant

Brant
West Beach, Beverly Farms, MA

American Avocet

American Avocet
Parker River NWR, Plum Island, MA

Bonaparte's Gull

Bonaparte's Gull
Sandy Point State Reservation, Plum Island, MA

Great Crested Flycatcher

Great Crested Flycatcher
Delmater Sanctuary, Rockport, MA

Hermit Thrush

Hermit Thrush
Halibut Point State Park, Rockport, MA

Horned Lark

Horned Lark
Sandy Point State Reservation, Plum Island, MA

Eurasian Wigeon

Eurasian Wigeon
Parker River NWR, Plum Island, MA

Grasshopper Sparrow

Grasshopper Sparrow
Pease Grasslands, Portsmouth, NH

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Parker River NWR, Plum Island, MA

Saltmarsh Sparrow

Saltmarsh Sparrow
Nelson's Island, Parker River NWR, Plum Island, MA

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Ipswich River WS, Topsfield, MA

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler
Halibut Point State Park, Rockport, MA

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe
Ipswich River WS, Topsfield, MA

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting
Martin H. Burnes WMA, Newbury, MA

Red-breasted Merganser

Red-breasted Merganser
Deer Island, Newburyport, MA

House Finch

House Finch
Parker River NWR, Plum Island, MA

Scarlet Tanager

Scarlet Tanager
Willowdale State Forest, Ipswich, MA

Green Heron

Green Heron
Parker River NWR, Plum Island, MA

Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat
Parker River NWR, Plum Island, MA

Wood Thrush

Wood Thrush
Ipswich River WS, Topsfield, MA

Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon
Parker River NWR, Plum Island, MA

Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow
Crane Beach, Ipswich, MA

Lapland Longspur

Lapland Longspur
Parker River NWR, Plum Island, MA

Palm Warbler

Palm Warbler
Ipswich River WS, Topsfield, MA

Barred Owl

Barred Owl
Julia Bird Reservation, Ipswich, MA

Black-and-white Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler
Jordan Ridge, Acadia NP, Mt Desert Island, ME

Bay-breasted Warbler

Bay-breasted Warbler
Parker River NWR, Plum Island, MA

Marsh Wren

Marsh Wren
Parker River NWR, Plum Island, MA

Eastern Towhee

Eastern Towhee
Old Town Hill, Newbury, MA

Evening Grosbeak

Evening Grosbeak
Appleton Farms, Ipswich, MA

Northern Waterthrush

Northern Waterthrush
Coy Pond, Wenham, MA

Ring-necked Pheasant

Ring-necked Pheasant
Pikes Bridge, West Newbury, MA

House Finch

House Finch
Sandy Point State Reservation, Plum Island, MA

Wilson's Storm-Petrel

Wilson's Storm-Petrel
Georges Bank

Harlequin Duck

Harlequin Duck
Halibut Point Reservation, Rockport, MA

Wilson's Warbler

Wilson's Warbler
Parker River NWR, Plum Island, MA

Solitary Sandpiper

Solitary Sandpiper
Little River, Newbury, MA

Swamp Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow
Round Pond, Hamilton, MA

Pine Siskin

Pine Siskin
Chubb Creek, Beverly Farms, MA

Common Grackle

Common Grackle
Ipswich River WS, Topsfield, MA

Spotted Sandpiper

Spotted Sandpiper
Hop Brook WMA, Lee, MA

New England Birding Calendar

A consolidated calendar showing field trips, meetings and club events from across the region.

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Real-time reports, browseable by county for every New England state.

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An excellent resource for birding excursions throughout New England.

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On-your-cell, real-time rarities listings within a radius of your choosing.

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High Tide Table for Boston

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View summary or detail on up-to-the-minute postings from birding lists throughout New England.

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The Bird Observer Collection

Every word of every issue - species accounts, book reviews, musings, gleanings, hot birds, cold birds, rare birds and old birds.

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Bird Observer supports the right of all people to enjoy birding and nature in a safe and welcoming environment free from discrimination and harassment, be it sexual, racial, or barriers for people with disabilities.
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