Date: 3/8/17 2:50 pm From: William Crawford <crawfordwm...> Subject: [MASSBIRD] MASSBIRD] Great Gray Owl in Newport, NH
Massbird: In the spirit of “negative reports are helpful,” to the best of our knowledge, the Great Gray Owl was NOT seen on Mon., March 6 – others there before us said “No” – was certainly was not while we were there ~3:30 – 5:45 PM. There were HUGE #’s of people – probably 100+. More below. Feel free to DELETE now.
We repeat the cautions of walking the iced-over railroad right-of-way – and the need for appropriate footware. As background information, this was a Boston & Maine branchline, spun-off in 1954 to a short line – the Claremont & Concord Railway - which cut back its freight service in steps – beginning from Concord, with the last-major segment (Claremont to Newport) abandoned in 1976. They still provide local switching service in Claremont.
I just wanted to say thank you for posting this. I went up yesterday (because today’s forecast was for 19 degrees and windy!) and joined the crowd of maybe 30 people forming a respectful semi-circle around the owl as it perched on a branch at the edge of the field. Apparently it had been there most of the day, although I got there just before 3:00. The owl finally flew maybe around 4:30 or 5:00, by which time it had clouded up. The owl flew from tree to tree along the edge of the field (in snow squalls) and at one pointed kited above the field looking for a mouse.
A quick update on the Great Gray Owl in Newport: after being absent for almost the entire day the bird arrived at yesterday's location at 4pm and was still present when I left an hour later.
It seems to hunt in this field around dusk, though clearly found another roost throughout the day. If you are planning on trying for the bird, i'd suggest arriving around 3, even 3:30 and staking out the field it seems to frequent.
Also, while the walk to the field is not a long one the trail is very iced over. Appropriate footwear is recommended.
If you do trek out there, good luck!
Jamaica Plain, MA
Sent from my mobile.
From: Sebastian Jones
Sent: Thursday, March 2, 2017 6:49 AM
Subject: Great Gray Owl in Newport, NH
Since i've not seen any reference to it on here, I thought i'd forward the below report of a Great Gray Owl yesterday in Newport, NH (just shy of two hours north from Boston). I'm trying my luck today and figured it might be of interest to others in the area.
The approximate street address for yesterday's site is 118 Oak St., Newport, NH and the bird was located about a half mile north on a bike trail across the street from the address.
Subject: [NHBirds] Newport GREAT GRAY OWL Upate, 7PM Weds
A little before 10AM this morning, Susan Wrisley, Jenna Pettipas & I were able to find the Great Gray Owl that was recently reported in Newport, NH. From 10AM until 4PM it pretty much sat in a tree and slept, occasionally stretching and yawning. Shortly after 4 o'clock it perked up and immediately began hunting the large field abutting the rail trail. It did several short flights out over the field and eventually came back with a big black rodent in its talons which it promptly ate. A small group of us watched it hunt for another hour as it worked its way North along the tree line at the edge of the field.
As darkness set in, it was last seen flying North across the fields towards the airport as I could see the large orange windsock in the background.
The highlight of the day, though, was when the bird flew across the field and landed at the feet of nature writer & photographer Lloyd Alexander, so close that Lloyd could have reached down and patted the bird on the head.
Also, thanks to Dylan Jackson for his local knowledge advise to Susan & Jenna on where to look for the bird, and to Marcel Ledoux for spending a few early morning hours with me scouring the fields of Newport. Fortunately Marcel was able to come back later and get some amazing flight shots, as he always does due to his keen sense of readiness & preparedness.
Also, thanks to Steve Mirick & Becky Suamola for getting the word out quickly. A lot of people were able to get on the bird today, a lifer for many and a state lifer for a lot of us, as well.