The most exciting bird of those fifty seven species was the Northern Lapwing in Bridgewater. The strong easterly winds across the Atlantic that were responsible for pushing hurricane Sandy into New Jersey most likely transported the twelve Lapwings that were reported across the east coast from Europe. They showed up in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey. Massachusetts however, seemed to be the center-point with at least five birds showing up along the coast in typical Killdeer habitat (though after most of the Killdeer had departed).
The Bridgewater bird was discovered on November 11 in a field of corn stubble off of Summer street behind the Old Colony Correctional Center. When I watched it, on January 1, it had a small section of grass and mud at the edge of the snow-covered field that it was patrolling. It even pulled an earthworm out of the mud at one point. After I watched it for a minute there was no one around and I decided to see if I could get closer. I walked along the edge of the open field in an area where there were some taller weeds. Every few seconds I stopped to see how the bird was reacting to my approach. It wasn't reacting. Every few seconds as it walked back and forth pecking at the mud it would give a glance in my direction, but more than that, nothing. When I finally got relatively close, almost close enough for pictures, I moved out into the open more to get a better view. I was crouch-walking now. Once I was in the open I laid down on the ground. The lapwing was still doing its thing, walking calmly back and forth barely acknowledging my presence. It looked at me, and then as if it had spotted something in the mud, ran a few paces and pecked at the ground. Suddenly, it looked away from me into the distance, took off into the air and shrieked an alarm call. There were a few Northern Harriers in the distance, but they were too far away, something must have spooked it. It wasn't me though, its body language told me that much. It flew a large circle around its small muddy patch and landed for a second where it had taken off from. Still facing away from me it had barely touched the ground when it took off again calling for a second time. I got a couple of butt-shots with its wings open and its orange under-tail coverts very visible. It did another loop and this time landed right in front of me, swooping a few feet over my head as it came in to land. It stayed on the ground this time and finally seemed to acknowledge me before beginning once again to feed. The pictures I show here make it seem alert towards my presence, but I had a bit of works going through my shots to find ones with decent eye-contact.
The Northern Lapwing wasn't the only bird in the fields that day. Also present were a dark morph Rough-legged Hawk (another lifer for me), and three Northern Harriers.
Later in Plymouth among the usual ducks at Jenney Pond the immature Black-crowned Night-Heron was napping in a tree. The Iceland Gull was at its usual hangout on the town pier, and two Black-bellied Plovers continue among other birds at Ellisville Harbor.
Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
Jenney Mill Pond, Plymouth, MA, Jan 1, 2013
Canon EOS 7D - 400mm f5.6
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Summer St. Bridgewater, MA, Jan 1, 2013
Canon EOS 7D - 400mm f5.6