, Newburyport, MA

Local News

November 10, 2012

Second storm brings more unusual birds

Remember the dovekie that the Salisbury Beach resident found in his stairwell last week after Sandy? This week’s nor’easter drove more than 3,470 of those dovekies past Andrew’s Point in Rockport on Wednesday! Birders consider themselves lucky to find one or two of these birds from shore, but this count by Rick Heil of Peabody is the largest flight seen off Massachusetts since the 1950s and ‘60s.

That same Wednesday morning, Bill Gette and Dave Larson led their Wednesday Morning Birding group around Salisbury and Plum Island and saw many interesting birds. Bill Gette filed the following report:

“Prior to our program today, David Larson and I were wondering if anyone would be silly enough to show up for our Wednesday Morning Birding program. The winds were very strong; it was very overcast; and it looked as if it could rain at any moment. Well, silly we have in very good supply — we had 12 hardy birders who know that bad weather days often — very often — provide good birding. Today was one of those very good days.

“As I promised, we headed immediately to Salisbury Beach State Reservation. As we drove in the entrance road, we were greeted by 40 snow buntings. They were feeding along the edge of the road where we all had wonderful views. As we drove farther south along the park road, we saw a flock of birds fly into some pines. We got out of our vans and walked back to the trees. There, we found a group of white-winged crossbills feeding among the cones. The birds were very approachable, and we got within 5 or 6 feet of them. When several of the crossbills took off, they flew within a foot or so of our group.

“We drove into one of the large parking areas on the east side of the park road and spotted more snow buntings. As we watched the buntings, a merlin streaked past chasing a crossbill. Unlike last Wednesday when we watched the Cooper’s hawk catch the European starling, the crossbill got away.

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