Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary
Birding Community Newsletter

Issue 2018-02 | Friday February 9, 2018 | 2,083 Subscribers
Back to 10
Warm Snow Cold, Warm Snow Cold.
A Typical New England Winter Continues.
Midway to the Equinox
Lengthening days that are back to 10 hours, are a signal to most, that the long wait in the grassy plains of the Rumney Marshes ACEC is half over. Silent on the wing, top predators maintain their lines and thin-out the ranks of the forage base. Panic spreads like wildfire, as the tranquil laze of a cool morning is disrupted by a plundering dark coated bandit.
 January 27 & February 4, 2018 Trip Reports
Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary
Saugus, Essex County, Massachusetts, US

January 27, 2018
9:00 AM - 12:12 PM

Protocol: Traveling

3.0 Mile(s)

29 Bird Species
Canada Goose 75

Mallard 12

American Black Duck 24

White-winged Scoter 5

Bufflehead 35

Red-breasted Merganser 28

Wild Turkey 13

Red-tailed Hawk 3 
Ring-billed Gull 10

Herring Gull 65

Great Black-backed Gull 15

Rock Pigeon 55

Mourning Dove 63

Snowy Owl 2

Short-eared Owl 3

American Kestrel 1

Blue Jay 1

American Crow 12

Horned Lark 35

European Starling x

Lapland Longspur 3

American Tree Sparrow 9

White-throated Sparrow 2

Song Sparrow 5

Northern Cardinal 2

House Sparrow 18
Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary
Saugus, Essex County, Massachusetts, US

February 4, 2018
9:00 PM - 12:15 PM

Protocol: Traveling

3.5 Mile(s)

29 Bird Species
Canada Goose 300

Mallard 7

American Black Duck 29

Common Eider 6

White-winged Scoter 8

Bufflehead 27

Red-breasted Merganser 15

Wild Turkey 12

Northern Harrier 1
    female or young

Red-tailed Hawk 3  

Ring-billed Gull 5

Herring Gull 150

Great Black-backed Gull 14

Rock Pigeon 90

Mourning Dove 49

Snowy Owl 2

Short-eared Owl 2

Downy Woodpecker 2

American Crow 9

Horned Lark 200
    Rough estimate, but made with confidence. The place is lark heaven.

Black-capped Chickadee 1

European Starling 900

Lapland Longspur 3

American Tree Sparrow 5

White-throated Sparrow 2

Song Sparrow 4

Northern Cardinal 1

Red-winged Blackbird 51

House Sparrow 6
Very light faced Short-eared Owl
Darker faced Short-eared Owl
Friends old and new
Sleepy Snowy Owl
Short-eared Owl with a Meadow Vole brunch
Red-tailed Hawk
American Blackducks
Birds on a wire
Rock Pigeon
American Tree Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Something's in the air
Dark colored Snowy Owl out in the marsh
Canada Geese
Wild Turkeys
Gorgeous Coyote
Glaucous Gull
American Kestrel
Catching Jewels
Northern Harrier flirting with a Short-eared Owl
Red-winged Blackbirds
Mourning Doves
European Starlings
Red-breasted Mergansers
5 Bufflehead with an American Black Duck in the background
Female Wild Turkey
Male Wild Turkey
Enormous Snowy Owl Pellets
Medium sized Red-tailed Hawk Pellet
Tiny Owl Pellet in the dense evergreens
Hint Hint
Not-so-lucky Short-eared Owl
Sneaking Owl Snacks
The Short-eared Owl
Best Friends enamored by repeated close passes of a Short-eared Owl on the hunt.
Bird of the Week this week goes out to all the Short-eared Owls that have been keeping us entertained since November. 

Many of our friends who have visited the sanctuary, have been able to see this owl for the first time ever this year. How can you beat that?

You would swear these birds have sleeping bags with thermometers on the zippers. Once the morning chill wears off, they’re up and pounding Meadow Voles like a hammer on nails. 

Back and forth, back and forth, at times this season we have observed as many as three Short-eared Owls hunting at the same time.

It is very exciting to watch the owls glide through the grassland. Pouncing and perching often, these very popular birds can remain in view for hours at a time.
Hooks and Bows with soft frilly edges. These highly specialized feathers allow owls to fly perfectly silent. For a closer look at owl wings, checkout the fantastic video at PBS Deep Look
Runner-up this week goes to Wile E. Coyote’s third cousin Cann E. Coyote. Cann E.’s coat is luxuriously rich, which has allowed us to identify the young lad for a few seasons now. His picture appeared in a few of the 2017 newsletters.

He has adapted well to the grassland lifestyle. Pilfering Savannah Sparrow nests, dropping voles like Bonbons, he is far from the lanky young pup who first wandered out of the grass. 

With his new found broad shoulders, and a thick neck, he will soon be a sire himself. We continue to wish him well.
 The Next Scheduled Nature Walks are:

Sunday, February 11 at 9 a.m.
Please note: Wednesday's snow storm coated the smooth surfaces with a thick coating of ice. If Saturday's anticipated warm temperatures do not melt the ice, appropriate footwear will be advised.
Sunday, February 18 at 9 a.m.

NOTE: The Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary is open to the public for guided tours only. If you would like to visit the sanctuary, please attend one of our regularly scheduled nature walks, or contact us to arrange a private tour. Thank you.

Special thanks go out to Soheil, Mark, Norm, Cammy, Marj, Pat, Jeff, Pam, Gina, Christian, Melissa, Amanda, Chris, Ian, Mary, Lisa, Jim, Constance, John, Nancy, Ken, Judy, Marcia, and everyone else who contributed pictures and support this week. Without your help, this publication could not be produced.

Additional pictures from this week:
First drops of rain over a Beautiful City
Short-eared Owl
Glaucous Gull
A long shot of a Snowy Owl in the marsh
Short-eared Owl
Canada Geese
Short-eared Owl
Bandit-boy in action
Great Black-backed Gull
Short-eared Owl

The Wheelabrator Saugus Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary is a 370-acre property abutting a 2,274-acre estuary on the outskirts of Boston, located in the heart of the Rumney Marshes ACEC. Maintained and managed grasslands, salt marshes, shrublands and maturing woodlands combine as one of the largest bird migration staging areas on the North Shore and a habitat for nearly 200 bird species, as well as other wildlife such as coyotes, foxes, raccoons and snakes. Visitors can enjoy the more than 14,000 feet of walking trails that permeate the site, a half-acre exhibit garden, and meeting and lecture areas, which are scattered throughout nine of the restored ecosystems. Situated directly behind Wheelabrator Saugus, the Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary is maintained and managed by Geoff Wilson of Northeast Wetland Restoration. Follow along with us as the birds change with each passing season! 
Issue 2017-01 The Short-eared Owl
Issue 2017-02 The American Kestrel
Issue 2017-03 The Peregrine Falcon
Issue 2017-04 The Smith's Longspur
Issue 2017-05 The Smith's Longspur Cont.
Issue 2017-06 The Smith's Longspur Cont.
Issue 2017-07 The Horned Lark
Issue 2017-08 The Savannah Sparrow
Issue 2017-09 The Upland Sandpiper
Issue 2017-10 The Killdeer
Issue 2017-11 The Annual Breeding Bird Survey Part I
Issue 2017-12 The Annual Breeding Bird Survey Part II
Issue 2017-13 Salt Marshes / Sea Level Rise
Issue 2017-14 The Common Green Darner
Issue 2017-15 Birds of Prey
Issue 2017-16 The Shrublands
Issue 2017-17 The Painted Lady
Issue 2017-18 The Common Buckeye
Issue 2017-19 The Turnover
Issue 2017-20 Shoulder to the Wind
Issue 2017-21 Introduction to the Grasslands
Issue 2017-22 The Gatherers
Issue 2018-1 Settled In