Fittingly given the month, I have migrated to ericmasterson.com There will be no more posts to this site. Thank you.
I am leading a trip for the Harris Center to Star Island, Saturday May 18th, with likely one additional trip, date to be determined.
Star Island is a migrant trap, with little tree cover for birds to hide in. In addition, most birds are tired and focused on feeding, allowing stunning views of many of New Hampshire’s breeding birds that are difficult to see on territory. See previous trip reports at:
The boat departs from Rye Harbor Marina at 8 a.m., with a return to the dock at 1 p.m. Bring warm clothes (sea surface temperatures are still cool in late May), binoculars, camera, lunch, and water. Cost for members is $60 for Harris Center members, $75 for non members.
Carpooling can be arranged.
I will be moving to a new website effective May 2013, http://www.ericmasterson.com
I will be appearing at the following venues, talking (with slides, sounds, and more) about Birdwatching in NH and signing books:
Harris Center – Sunday April 14, 2-4pm
Keene Toadstool Bookstore – Sunday April 21, 2pm
Peterborough Toadstool Bookstore – Saturday April 27, 11am
Hancock Public Library – Thursday May 2, 7-9pm
Milford Toadstool Bookstore – Saturday May 4, 2pm
Lyme Public Library – Tuesday June 4, 7-9pm
Fitzwilliam Conservation Commission – Wednesday June 5, 7pm
Pelham Public Library – Thursday June 6, 6-8pm
Bedford Public Library – Monday June 10, 7-9pm
Madison Public Library – Thursday June 13, 7-9pm
Nashua Book Cellar – Saturday June 15, 2pm
Gibson’s Book Store Concord – Thursday July 18, 7pm
Amherst Public Library – Wednesday July 24, 7-9pm
New Hampshire Audubon, Concord – Friday September 20, 7-9pm
RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth – Thursday October 10, 7pm
This is one.
I devoted a page of Birdwatching in New Hampshire to GJN, a Canada Goose that was banded in Issungua, Western Greenland, in July 2008. GJN is the field-readable code on a large yellow band that is affixed around the birds neck. It was an easy choice to include this story in the book. I had resighted this goose in Walpole in March 2011 while it was en route back to Greenland for its third nesting season, a 3,500 mile trip one-way. This is why I watch birds – not because they are pretty, though that helps, but because they are fascinating. Each one has a story to tell, if you can just figure out how to unravel it.
A group of British ornithologists has been banding Canada Geese in Western Greenland with field-readable neck collars since 2008, and I have been diligently searching for them every fall, winter, and especially spring, when they can theoretically be seen in New Hampshire. I have only been successful once, on March 22, 2011, when I spotted GJN in a field off River Road in Walpole – that is until last Sunday, when we (Len Medlock and I) happened upon a flock of 1,500 Canada Geese in Westmoreland, 3 miles from the aforementioned Walpole field.
Len announced that he had a bird with a collar inscribed with the letters GJN, but as I had just given him a copy of the book to thank him for the use of some of his stunning photographs, I assumed he was having a laugh at my expense. I was wrong. I relayed the news to David Stroud, the lead ornithologist of the project, who was thrilled. This was the first sighting of the goose since 2011, and it offers some insight into the migratory habits of geese and their propensity to remain faithful to particular rest stops.
It was a good day.
The link below is to a recording of a Great Horned Owl that I made from my front porch a couple of weeks ago. Sorry about the link – I cant upload soundfiles to this particular blog – yet!
Although it might seem early, migrant waterfowl appear in NH as early as late February, though their numbers wont peak until mid-March (still only three weeks away). Let this be a comfort to you – spring as defined by the birds is almost upon us. The lower Connecticut River Valley is one of the best places in the state to witness this phenomenon (Birdwatching in NH from page 37), as is the Merrimack River Valley (from page 66), and Great Bay and the coast (from page 89). I will be launching the book April 7 at the Harris Center in Hancock, with additional scheduled talks May 2 at the Hancock Library, June 13 at Madison Library, and September 20 at NH Audubon’s McLane Center in Concord, with more to follow.