, Newburyport, MA

Local News

October 6, 2012

Owl sighting on Plum Island delights birders


Doug Chickering of Groveland can attest to the rarity of finding certain owls on Plum Island. He shares with us the thrill of finally seeing a barred owl there:

“Yesterday, Sept. 28, as Lois Cooper and I were driving off Plum Island, we passed a car pulled over and stopped on the other side of the road, halfway through the S curves. We approached slowly and as we passed the car, I could see the lens of a camera poking out of the driver’s side window; pointing high and to our right. I didn’t recognize the car; and because of the camera, I didn’t get a look at the driver. I hesitated a second and then, almost on impulse, drove on.

“Lois and I had thoroughly checked the roadside at the S curves when we had come in and Plum Island was replete with photographers, many of whom were taking pictures of non-avian subjects. It turned out to be a bad decision. Imagine my surprise and chagrin when I read Suzanne Sullivan’s post where she tells of finding a barred owl in the S curves on Plum Island and as she shot several pictures of the bird, at least five cars rode by completely unaware as to what was near them. Color me clueless as I was one of those cars.

“So this morning, Lois and I decided to try the island again. Closing the barn door after the horse was gone, as it were. This would turn out to be a good decision. It was a pretty active day with a few sparrows jumping up from the roadside; mostly song sparrows but also a few white-throats. Also, we found a brown creeper in the S curves; a kingfisher and chipping sparrows at the wardens.

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