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March 8, 2014

Now is the time to look for owls

(Continued)

That morning we did see a screech owl roosting in a large drain pipe in beautiful downtown Ipswich. This bird was found about 10 days prior and had been seen in the same area off and on. We were lucky enough to catch this red morph bird sitting in the end of the pipe with its eyes closed most of the time we were there. The bird was viewable from a safe distance on the sidewalk, and Margo got a nice photo from there which can be seen at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/24246528@N05/12915968934. The next day, we decided to head south to the Westport/South Dartmouth area. Again, we encountered owls. We were driving down a dead end road in South Dartmouth when Margo exclaimed, “Stop, there is an owl there.”

There was a barred owl at about eye level among the sticks and branches in a thicket. We were able to position the car in a spot where few branches blocked our view and Margo was able to take a few photos from the car: http://www.flickr.com/photos/24246528@N05/12915886693.

Down the road from there, a young, but handsome red-shouldered hawk perched for another photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/24246528@N05/12915840723.

We also encountered our first killdeer of the season in a field in South Dartmouth. A flock of about 200 shorebirds were at Gooseberry Neck in Westport. We found sanderlings, dunlin, purple sandpipers and two ruddy turnstones among them. We later found numerous waterfowl in Westport Harbor including red-breasted and hooded mergansers, goldeneye, scaup, bufflehead, a few common loons and several horned grebe. Late in the afternoon we were driving along a road in Westport, headed north toward the highway, when I spotted a large nest in a tree with two “ears” sticking out the top. I stopped the car and turned around and, sure enough, it was a great horned owl sitting in a nest!

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