Friday, October 22, 2010

From Concord to Nahant

Canada Geese, Great Meadows NWR, Concord, MA

Drove up to Salem for advising today. Only one advisee had signed up and she never showed. But, the day wasn't a total loss. I stopped at Great Meadows in Concord on the way there and at Long Beach in Nahant on the way back.

The star of Great Meadows for the past couple of days (excepting a mysterious unidentified martin) has been an easy-going grasshopper sparrow, stationed right at the beginning of the trail. I spotted him right away, though he quickly moved out of good camera position. No problem--I'd gotten pretty good grasshopper sparrow photos a couple of years ago.

Sparrows of all sorts, but especially swampies, continue to migrate through. A couple of white-crowns did their best to avoid being camera subjects. A taste below.

Palm warblers lent their color to the fall foliage display.

As did zillions of yellow-rumps. This one perched unbelievably close. Hello there.

There were great raptor displays all day. A northern harrier ruled Great Meadows, battling with a sharpie and a red-tailed hawk and sending ducks flying and teal diving. A merlin was using the wind to attain super speeds at Nahant Beach. And I saw a peregrine falcon hovering in the wind as I drove down Rt 1A.

Today the high temperature was in the 40s with wind-chills below freezing. Why not stop and inhale wind-blown sand at Long Beach? I was expecting gulls (bonapartes, hopefully) but got sanderling in great numbers. And look at that--some dunlin hanging out with them.

And then there were the brant, initially off shore but then on the beach. I wonder if the wind-surfers had anything to do with it.

Here's a little video documenting the Nahant stop. Lots of wind noise. It was windy. See weird sand blown patterns. See a gull blown right out of the frame.

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