Date: 4/15/17 11:20 am From: Rick Bowes <rbowes...> Subject: [MASSBIRD] 4/15 Duxbury Beach - Transient Snowy Owl
Sat. 4/15/17 7:30-10:25am; Low tide 9:21am; Cloudless; 47F at start; wind SW 5-10; bay - flats; ocean quiet;
Set out looking for early arrival shorebirds on flats, and had little luck - "just" the Dunlin flocks (c.1500 in aggregate) with 1 distant bird in full handsome alternate/breeding plumage plus a few Piping Plovers and Sanderlings. The Greater Yellowlegs seem to be sticking to the estuaries on the west side of Duxbury Bay. Waterfowl numbers have diminished markedly - particularly scoters - and Brant seemed to be less than half what I have been seeing (only about 200 today).
Today's highlight came as I slowly drove south past the 3rd xover when a bright white Snowy Owl flew up from the wrack not more than 100 ft from the car and dropped down into a more conspicuous spot on the wrack about 200 ft ahead of me. A pickup drove quickly past, unseeing, and flushed it again and it circled back past me to a spot about the same distance behind me (north) which put it in great light for the camera. Another car came and it flushed again and wisely went up over the dune to the ocean side. About an hour later on my return I checked beach side at the 3 xover and found it sitting right out in the open on the sand! I have posted some photos in the eBird list at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S35983754
This was a relatively small and very white bird - presumably and adult male making its way north. The last Snowy reported at the beach this season was on 3/31 by the Mass Audubon Friday Morning Birders. My last sighting was January 25th. The eBird photo of the 4/12 sighting on Nantucket shows that this is a different bird (this one lacks the dark markings on the other one).