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Boston / Newburyport 2003
Karl Lukens, Judy Lukens, Bert Filemyr
4-6 February 2003
Report written by Karl Lukens


Tuesday Feb. 4
Left Bert's at 8:30 AM. First stop at Dunkin Donuts in Flemington at 9:45 AM. Some rain, 40's. Lunch on Mass. Turnpike about 1:30 PM. Arrive in Boston at 2:30 PM and head for Design Center. Park in lot opposite the building and scan the Design Center, and other buildings. No luck. Drive up to the Seaport Hotel and circle the building once and on the second pass, as we are looking up with Bins, we notice a man in a car wave to us, his license plate is \Goshwk! , a good sign. "Did we see the bird" he asked. "No" we answered. "It's up there " follow me. We go to the parking lot across the street and look up on the first ledge and there it is. (3:45 PM). We get out the scope for a better look and some video but the video camera gives out after 3 seconds of the Gyrfalcon's back.

The "bird" is a dark morph and started to preen, then walk the ledge to some stashed food, and finally took off and gave us a good view in flight. Leave Boston arrive at Motel in Amesbury at 5:00 PM. Martinis to celebrate Judy's Lifer and Bert's and Karl's Lower 48 bird. Dinner at Michael's Harborside.

Wednesday Feb. 5
Continental breakfast at the motel and on the road at 8:15 AM to do the Gloucester Harbor/Cape Ann area. But first a stop at the supermarket for lunch supplies. Start out at Magnolia Point go around the harbor to Gloucester, Niles Beach, Eastern Point to the Dog Bar Breakwater for Guillemots. Along the way Common Eider, all 3 Scoters, Loons, etc. At Dog Bar it was blowing 20-25 knots and 28 degrees, but we scrambled out to the Lighthouse and set up scopes. Finally both Bert and Karl found Black Guillemots in their scopes and Judy got a good look at one of the winter plumaged birds-another Lifer for Judy. Did the coast all the way to Halibut Point. Walked out to the coast and scoped, still cold and windy. Got a couple more Guillemots, Scoters, both Loons, and about 20 Razorbills (Bert got 1 Harlequin Duck-where were they?). Worked our way up to Plum Island and found a Snowy Owl, and a couple of Rough-legs, both light and dark morphs. Stayed until dark for Short-eared Owls but the strong wind probably was a factor in not seeing the owls. A good number of Harriers were seen however. Will try again in the morning. On the way to the motel we stopped at Joppa flats area and found 1 adult Iceland gull. Motel at 5:35, Martinis at 6:15 PM (toast Judy's 2nd Life bird-Black Guillemot), dinner at Michael's 6:30-Good!

Thursday Feb. 6
Continental breakfast and leave motel all packed up at 7:50 AM. Hit Jappa Flats then on to Salisbury Beach. Here we found Horned Larks, Snow Buntings, Common Eiders in large flotillas, plus loons mergansers, and a number of Harbor Seals. A short trip to Rowley for a Screech Owl but it did not show. Then on to Plum Island where we found 4-6 Rough-legged Hawks, and after scanning the treetops at lot #7, Bert found the Northern Shrike. Needed a scope. Checked Salisbury Beach again, better look at Snow Buntings. On the way back to Newburyport we got 2 more adult Iceland Gulls at the Joppa Flat area. Could not locate the feeder where the Clay-colored Sparrow was coming so we decided to leave for home at 1:40 PM. Arrived at Bert's house at 8:05 and Karl & Judy left right away as the snow was predicted to start within the hour. Total birds for the trip ~54.