May
20
7:00 am07:00

The Annual Birdathon

The Harriers' 2013 Birdathon Team: champs in the state of New Hampshire! (Left to right, Aiden Moser, Phil Brown, Henry Walters, and Adam Burnett)

The Harriers' 2013 Birdathon Team: champs in the state of New Hampshire!
(Left to right, Aiden Moser, Phil Brown, Henry Walters, and Adam Burnett)

Who knew that birding was a competitive sport? Well, if you've seen The Big Year, perhaps it's no surprise that easygoing naturalists can sometimes go crazy! Here's your chance to experience the thrills, despairs, and total sensory overload: an entire day of all-out birding! Join a Harriers team and see how many species you can identify in 24 hours, while competing against other teams around the state of New Hampshire. The real fun, however, is simply in spending a day trying to see and hear as much as you can, whether on foot, by bicycle, or by driving from place to place in a car. Team captains will be involved in planning their respective routes; one adult will also be assigned to each team to help with driving and other logistics. All are welcome, at any level of participation! Contact us to learn more about joining a Harriers team, or visit the NH Audubon website to learn more about the Birdathon itself. All pledges raised for the Birdathon will go to support New Hampshire Audubon.

May
13
7:00 am07:00

International Migratory Bird Day

  • Pondicherry National Wildlife Refuge

Pondicherry National Wildlife Refuge, a pristine mishmash of Eastern hardwoods and the more northerly boreal forest, is the closest thing New Hampshire has to a birder's Eden. More than 130 different species of birds breed here, making it one of the most biodiverse sanctuaries in all of New England. Add to that group the large numbers of migrant warblers, thrushes, raptors, and others still passing through the area, and you have the makings of a jaw-dropping spectacle.

On this trip the Harriers will have the chance to learn from experienced birders, botanists, and all-around naturalists, but we’ll also spend some time on our own in the quiet of the woods. And we’ll hope to see our namesake, the Northern Harrier, engaged in its roller-coaster aerial displays over the edge of Cherry Pond. Meet at the parking lot off of Hazen/Airport Rd. (1/4 mile east of Mt. Washington Regional Airport) at 7:00 a.m. The expedition requires a good deal of walking, between 2-4 miles, although on very flat, well-maintained rail trails, so wear good shoes. Bring water, a little lunch, and probably that insect repellant!

Due to the location (a long drive for all of us southerners) and the early start time, consider camping in the Jefferson/Whitefield area the night before, Friday, May 8.

The view from Cherry Pond, as photographed by Harriers member Greg Kallfelz during the 2013 International Migratory Bird Day.

May
7
9:00 am09:00

Migration on the Salt Marsh

  • Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
A Cedar Waxwing photographed by Brynlee Kimball during our last trip to Plum Island.

A Cedar Waxwing photographed by Brynlee Kimball during our last trip to Plum Island.

There won't be plums to be found on Plum Island on the last of April, but how about cornucopia or two of migrant songbirds? Thrushes, sparrows, waterfowl, raptors, the first of the shorebirds and warblers...this part of spring is birders' heaven! Join us for a morning of wandering the dunes and the salt flats, the marsh boardwalks and the woods. We'll meet at the first parking lot past the entrance to Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, in Newbury, MA, at 9:00 a.m. Dress warmly--the wind often whips off the ocean. And drop us an email if you're planning to attend.

Note: There is a fee of $5 per vehicle in order to enter the RefugeCarpooling options are available.

Immature Bald Eagle Photograph by Henry Walters

Immature Bald Eagle
Photograph by Henry Walters

Apr
9
8:00 am08:00

NH Audubon's 34rd annual "Waterfowl Safari"

BUFF_Aiden Moser.jpg

Bufflehead (top) and Ring-necked Duck
Photographs by Aiden Moser

Each spring, migrating ducks move up the Connecticut River basin to points further north. Dabblers and divers, small and large, these aren't your city-park mallards! Ever seen a male Wood Duck in full breeding regalia? Or a Common Goldeneye throwing his head back to court his mate? This long-running bird survey is sure to offer some great sights, as spring migration 2015 starts building momentum! 

Phil Brown, YBC Coordinator and NH Audubon's Director of Land Management, will be our guide on this tour. We will caravan from Charlestown, NH, to Herrick's Cove, VT, where we'll gather for "lunch and tall tales." To read more about this event, which is sponsored by the Monadnock chapter of NH Audubon (open to all, Members and non-Members alike) click here.

Let's meet at the Charlestown Library at 8 a.m. We'll stop for a little lunch at Herrick's Cove around noon. Bring some water, a bite to eat, and dress for the weather! R.S.V.P. to pbrown@nhaudubon.org if you plan to attend.

Jan
8
9:00 am09:00

Mammal Tracking at Willard Pond

  • Willard Pond Rd Antrim, NH, 03440 United States
Bobcat Track Photograph by Wendy Ward

Bobcat Track
Photograph by Wendy Ward

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my... Foxes and otters and hares, oh my... Bobcats and weasels and moose and who knows what prints the snow is holding for us, just waiting to be discovered. Come learn how to tell a fox's track from a golden retriever's, a porcupine's from a possum's, a mink's from a mongoose's. Phil Brown will lead us on a mile-long hike in New Hampshire Audubon's Willard Pond Wildlife Sanctuary north of Hancock, looking for signs of wildlife and listening for birds along the way. Meet at the parking lot at the end of Willard Pond Road at 9:00. Bring some water, a little snack, and your sharpest eyes! (Depending on snow cover, snowshoes or microspikes may be helpful if you have them.) All are welcome! RSVP to nhyoungbirders@gmail.com if you plan to attend.

Dec
17
6:00 am06:00

Christmas Bird Count POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER...stay tuned

  • Harris Center for Conservation Education

A lingering late-season Eastern Bluebird is always a great find in the Monadnock-area Christmas Bird Count.
Photo by Henry Walters

What better way to celebrate the end of 2016 than with a Christmas Bird Count? Chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, goldfinches...on December 17th they all count, and we'll count 'em!

A tradition dating back to the very start of the 20th century, the CBC is held all over North America in the weeks before the holidays. The Harriers will take part in a Monadnock-area count for the second year running. The "count circle" will be broken up into sections, with one "team" of counters responsible for each section. If you would like to be a part of a team, let us know! Whether you'd like to begin at dawn, or just join in for an hour or two, your participation is valuable and appreciated. This is one of the largest and longest-running citizen science projects in the world! 

Better yet, we'll warm our hands and bellies midway through the morning with a pancake breakfast. The "break" will take place about 9:30 a.m. at the Harris Center for Conservation Education in Hancock, which is part of our counting territory.

We'll be moving by car caravan from place to place, but some good walking will be required, so dress for the conditions, and warmly! Let us know to expect you by writing to nhyoungbirders@gmail.com. Depending when you'd like to count, we'll let you know the best place to meet us.

Oct
8
10:00 am10:00

Hawkwatching at Carter Hill Orchard

  • Carter Hill Orchard

Osprey
Photograph by Andre Moraes

When fall rolls around in New England, there are only two good places to be: either picking apples, or watching hawks. The Young Birders will gather on Saturday, October 8, to do both! Our destination is Carter Hill Orchard in Concord, one of New Hampshire Audubon's two official hawk-watch sites. From ospreys to eagles, hawks to falcons, we have a chance to see as many as 13 species of birds of prey at this time of year, most migrating many hundreds of miles. (And the cider donuts ain't bad either!)

The hawk-watching platform is set in the middle of the apple orchard, where hawks often come cruising over almost at eye-level. We'll set up there with scope and binoculars and spend a couple hours, so be sure to bring water and dress for the weather. The local farm store has plenty of provisions for lunch. 

We'll meet at the orchard at 10 a.m. If you have questions about the trip, or plan to attend, R.S.V.P. to nhyoungbirders@gmail.com. We can't wait to see you!

Sep
17
9:00 am09:00

Visit to Ponemah Bog!

  • Massabesic Audubon Center

Harriers' Coordinators Phil Brown and Katrina Fenton scan the river during the May Birdathon. 

Discover Ponemah Bog Wildlife Sanctuary with Phil Brown, Harriers Coordinator and NH Audubon's Director of Land Management. Phil will share stories and science behind some of the wildlife, plants, and unique features of this beautiful natural area. A refurbished bog boardwalk leads across the bog mat to an open pond: here, species from northern and southern zones meet to create a living ecological museum. With bird migration in full swing, there will be no shortage of things to see!

While this trip is open to adults from the NH Audubon community as well, it promises to be a great outing for kids and families. Walking is level and not particularly strenuous. Bring good shoes and your binoculars! You can read more about the Ponemah Bog area here.

After the walk, consider staying to hear acclaimed author and naturalist Bernd Heinrich speak about his experiences with birds. Dr. Heinrich will address the NH Audubon community at their Annual Meeting. (While the morning walk is free, there is a charge for tickets to the later events. Click here to see more details.)

We'll meet at the Massabesic Audubon Center at 9 a.m. If you're interested or have more questions about the morning, R.S.V.P. to Phil Brown at pbrown@nhaudubon.org. 

Aug
13
10:00 am10:00

Dragonflies with Pam Hunt!

  • NH Audubon McLane Center

Variable Darner
Photograph by Henry Walters

Pam Hunt's enthusiasm for insects of the order Odonata is crossed with other, far more archaic passions!

Hard as it may be to admit, the most amazing flying objects in our airspace may not have feathers…or bones! 

The world of dragonflies is a strange one: imagine having eyes that wrapped all the way around your head, giving you a 360-degree view of the world. Add to that the fact that those eyes are multifaceted, meaning that dragonflies perceive, simultaneously, 30,000 different images of their surroundings. We humans only have to put together two!

Come learn more about these fascinating and beautiful creatures with our guest leader Pam Hunt, Senior Biologist with New Hampshire Audubon and one of our state's most knowledgeable dragonfly enthusiasts. We’ll use nets to capture dragonflies on the wing, then examine them right up close, learning a bit about their life histories as we go. Identification of different species is a challenge, but far from impossible.

The location of our adventure will be the greater Concord area, as Pam will lead us to some of her favorite spots for dragonflies.  We'll meet at 10 a.m. at New Hampshire Audubon's McLane Center. We'll keep our eyes and ears open for breeding songbirds along the way.

Bring a lunch, a dragonfly net (if you have one), your binoculars, and your 360-degree vision! Also be sure to have water-ready footwear, as we may be tramping through a few soggy places.

(As always, R.S.V.P. if you plan to attend: nhyoungbirders@gmail.com )

Jul
15
7:00 pm19:00

Bats and Bluebirds at Massabesic Audubon Center

  • Massabesic Audubon Center

Little Brown Bat, showing "white nose" fungus
Photograph by Marvin Moriarty, USFWS

As keen-eyed and -eared as the Young Birders are, we've entirely overlooked a whole family of creatures...flighted, featherless, phenomenal BATS!

The natural history of these strangest of mammals is complicated, amazing, and as beautiful as it is weird. As some parts of New England have lost more than 90% of their native bat populations in the past decade, there has never been a more important time to learn about the species we have here in our state and the things we can do to protect them.

Join Cynthia Nichols on July 25, when we'll gather at the Massabesic Audubon Center in the early evening. As bluebirds, thrushes, and other nesting birds pipe up with their evening chorus, she'll present a talk on New Hampshire's bats, their life-cycle, and the white-nose syndrome that has wreaked such havoc on their colonies. And after sunset, we'll learn to make an official count of the bats as they emerge from their roosting site, so that we ourselves can assist in the citizen science efforts that may help to save them.  

The event is co-sponsored by New Hampshire Audubon and the Massabesic Audubon Center. We'll meet there at 7 pm. Bring your binocs, bug-spray, and your best echolocation skills! 

Eastern Bluebird
Photograph by Henry Walters

Jun
25
11:00 am11:00

Start of Summer Picnic!

  • Squam Lakes Natural Science Center

Never seen a Great Horned Owl? This is just one of the many native New Hampshire animals to be seen in the expansive exhibits of the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center.

The Harriers have a picnic this weekend! Our destination: Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in Holderness, New Hampshire. Our return to the Science Center is backed by popular request... If you've never seen the birds and mammals that live here, you're in for a treat! 

We'll spend some time walking the trails between the Science Center's animal exhibits, but we'll also scout out the woods and fields around the outskirts, looking for breeding birds, nests, and newly fledged chicks! We'll stop for lunch along the way, so don't forget to pack a bag lunch. 

We will meet at the entrance to the center at 11:00. Admission for Harriers' members (the kids!) is free; admission for adults is $19.

R.S.V.P. to nhyoungbirders@gmail.com if you can make it. We look forward to seeing you there!

Apr
23
10:00 am10:00

Kites in Flight!

  • Harris Center for Conservation

Photograph by Jon Creamer

When a red-tailed hawk hangs motionless in the breeze, it is said to be "kiting." What forces are at work in keeping such a big bird aloft, and do our kites fly the same way? We'll meet at the Harris Center in Hancock for a workshop with renowned New England kite artist Glenn Davison. In addition to learning some physics of kite-design and avian aerodynamics, we'll make our own kites, fly them, and do some birding as we're gazing skyward! Spring raptor migration will be in full swing, and we may see a red-tail or two soaring past to peek in on our fun. Program starts at 10 a.m. 

While we try to keep all Harriers events free throughout the year, a cost of $10 per child for this special program helps cover the cost of kite-building materials. We hope you can join us! Don't forget to R.S.V.P. to nhyoungbirders@gmail.com if you're planning to attend.

Apr
17
10:00 am10:00

Eagles Left, Peregrines Right

  • Hinsdale Setbacks

Where else in the region can one watch the goings-on in a massive Bald Eagle nest, then turn around and see Peregrine Falcons tending to their own eggs, high up on the side of a tower? A sharp bend in the Connecticut River allows us to walk out to great views of these two nest sites. Ducks, gulls, ospreys, kingfishers, and blackbirds could all make appearances in and around the open water below the Vernon Dam, and we’ll look for returning thrushes and sparrows in the trees above the brambly understory of the riverbanks.  

We'll meet at the rail-trail parking lot on Prospect St., just off Rt. 119 north of Hinsdale, at 10:00 a.m. Pack a little lunch, and we'll have a little picnic out at the bluffs near the eagle nest. This should be a great spot to scan for returning hawks and swallows as well. Bring your binoculars, notebook, and sharpest eyes and ears!

And don't forget to R.S.V.P. to nhyoungbirders@gmail.com if you're planning to attend!

Jan
30
8:00 am08:00

Superbowl of Birding

  • NH Coast / Plum Island

White-throated Sparrow...always a valuable find on 'Superbowl" Saturday...
Photograph by Aiden Moser

Up for some friendly competition? For the third straight year, the Harriers are recruiting a team to compete in the annual "Superbowl of Birding," an event put on by Mass Audubon. Teams from Massachusetts and New Hampshire spend the day birding their respective Atlantic coasts, compiling points for different species sighted, according to their rarity. Last year, the "Harriers Circus" won the "Youth Birding" category. With two years of experience under our belts, we're setting our sights even higher! If you're interested in participating, send a note (well in advance of the competition) to nhyoungbirders@gmail.com. For more information on the history and rules of the Superbowl, click here.

Dec
6
9:00 am09:00

Wastewater Treatment Plant Tour! (It's better than it sounds...)

  • Exeter Wastewater Treatment Plant

What's more fun than a trip to our local wastewater plant? At least during duck migration season, these somewhat disgusting pools are actually the place to be! Long known to birders as a "hotspot" for gulls, shorebirds, and many species of waterfowl, treatment plants like the ones in Exeter and Seabrook, New Hampshire, are important stopover points for all sorts of migrants. We'll spend time at each one, practicing our waterfowl identification as we go, and keeping an eye out for the flocks of Snow Buntings and Horned Larks that like the grassy verges between the pools. Come join us for a fun morning excursion to this unlikely manmade habitat!

We'll meet in the parking lot of the Exeter Public Works Department at 9:00 a.m. R.S.V.P. to nhyoungbirders@gmail.com and let us know you're planning to attend.!

Nov
14
9:00 am09:00

Golden Eagle Hike

  • Miller State Park

As those chilly winds begin to blow, the hardiest of the northern raptor species begin to get a hankering for warmer climates. One of the rarest migrants to be seen here in New Hampshire is the Golden Eagle. Though the species in not rare out in the Western U.S., it's only an occasional visitor to New England, passing through each spring and fall on its way to and from breeding grounds up in Quebec's Gaspésie Peninsula.  With a wingspan of nearly seven feet, and weighing up to a whopping fifteen pounds (an adult red-tailed hawk, for comparison, weighs about two pounds), the Golden is a true behemoth, taking prey as large as geese and even small deer. 

Immature Golden Eagle

While our chances may be slim, the opportunity to see such an enormous and beautiful creature is worth the effort. We'll head up to Pack Monadnock (driving also available for those not inclined to hike), part of Miller State Park, just east of Peterborough. New Hampshire Audubon staffs a hawk-watch here each fall, and we'll set up shop at the Observatory outlook for a couple hours. Red-tailed, Red-shouldered, and other hawk species are also likely. Dress warmly, pack a sandwich, and don't forget those binocs. Hot chocolate will be provided!

Meet in the Miller State Park parking lot off Route 101 at 9:00 a.m. R.S.V.P. to nhyoungbirders@gmail.com if you plan to attend!

Aug
16
8:00 am08:00

Layover on Plum Island! (Destination, Chile...)

  • Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

If it's August, prepare yourself for the first signs of winter! Across North America, from breeding grounds far north in Alaska and Canada, shorebirds are starting their migration. While we're still sunbathing and drinking lemonade, our beaches are already filling with sandpipers, dowitchers, godwits, knots, plovers, and their shorebird kin, many of them on a many-thousand-mile-long journey that will take them down to South America. August is our best chance to see them as they pass through--let's not miss it!

Plum Island, just off the Massachusetts coast, is one of the finest places to watch shorebirds in all of New England. Led by Iain MacLeod, Executive Director of the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, we'll spend a morning surveying Parker River National Wildlife Refuge for a wide array of these early migrants, including Semipalmated, Least, and Pectoral Sandpipers, Dunlin, Red Knot, Whimbrel, Willet, Short-billed Dowitcher, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, and who knows how much more! Whether you're well acquainted with these species or don't know a sanderling from a sand castle, there's always more to learn about this fascinating shorebird family. 

We'll meet at 8:00 am at the first parking lot of the Parker River NWR, just past the tollbooth. (Note that there is a $5 fee per vehicle entering the refuge.) Bring binocs, sunscreen, water, and a bite of lunch. R.S.V.P. to nhyoungbirders@gmail.com, and let us know if you plan to attend. We look forward to seeing you there!

Aug
13
9:00 am09:00

Planting a Garden - Act 2!

  • Peterborough Community Center

Bohemian Waxwing showing off...
Photograph by Len Medlock

Did you forget?!? Way back in April, the Harriers met to brainstorm about a wildlife-friendly garden to be planted at the Peterborough Community Center. Well now the time has come to create it! Conceived as a memorial to the late Rick and Duffy Monahon, long-time active conservationists and pillars of the Peterborough community, the garden will take shape under the eye of Francie Von Mertens, who will guide us as we rough out the landscaping and install the first plantings at the site. There will also be time conduct an informal survey of wildlife in the area; when next year rolls around, we'll see if these small changes in the landscape draw in new species of birds, insect pollinators, and other animals.

We'll meet at 9 a.m. at the Peterborough Community Center on Union St. Dirt will be flying, so dress accordingly! And we'll have an informal lunch after we're done around noon--pack a sandwich and stay for the picnic.

R.S.V.P. to nhyoungbirders@gmail.com if you're thinking about coming--even if you've never been to a Harriers event before, we'd love to have you!

Aug
12
8:00 pm20:00

Night Hike and Movie!

  • Harris Center for Conservation Education

Have you ever wondered what goes on in our woods after dark? Lions and tigers and bears, oh my? Perhaps not (at least not lions and tigers...), but the natural world does keep much of its excitement for after sunset. The last Friday in August, the Harriers will set out on a lamplit hike in Hancock, tuning our senses to whatever may be stirring in the cooler air of dusk. We'll take a close look at moths coming to light and learn a little about their natural history, search for the roosting-sites of birds, and listen for the footfalls of our more secretive mammals.

After the excursion, we'll return to the Harris Center for a short film (a documentary...no, of course we can't tell you!). Root beer floats and popcorn are on the house, and we'll send you home to bed with eyes as wide as flying squirrels'! Meet at 8 pm at the Harris Center (long sleeves and bug spray may still be in order), and we'll finish up by 10:15. 

The event is sponsored by the Harris Center for Conservation Education, and we welcome kids and families who are new to the Harriers! R.S.V.P. to nhyoungbirders@gmail.com, and we'll hope to see you there! 

Jul
28
12:30 pm12:30

Puffins!!! (Need we say more?)

  • Cap'n Fish's Puffin Cruises

Atlantic Puffin
Photograph by Andreas Trepte

The Harriers are planning to join up with Cap'n Fish's Audubon Puffin Cruises to spend a July afternoon out on the water in search of the most colorful and charismatic of our Alcid species: the Atlantic Puffin. Just two and a half hours from Manchester, NH, we'll board a boat out of Boothbay Harbor, Maine, heading to Eastern Egg Rock: the southernmost Atlantic Puffin colony in all of North America.

Ticket prices are $35 for adults, $20 for kids, but the YBC will contribute $10 for each Harriers member. We'll gather at the harbor at 12:30 to talk about the adventure, get our tickets, and walk onboard at 1:00 pm sharp. 

More details to follow, but put it on your calendars: this won't be a trip to miss!

Jun
20
8:30 am08:30

Loons at the Loon Center & a Start-of-Summer Picnic

  • The Loon Center

Common Loon
Photograph by Aiden Moser

School's out! (Or almost.) Time to let out a war-whoop! Better yet, practice the beautiful tremolo of a territorial Common Loon (as heard here, courtesy of Lang Elliott's recording).

Almost no music is so suited to the landscape of our Northern woods as that of the loon, whose wailing, yodeling, eerie cries bounce back and forth across our larger lakes and ponds like reverberations in an amphitheater. We'll begin our summer season with a trip to the Loon Center in Moultonborough, headquarters of the Loon Preservation Committee (LPC), which aims to protect loons, conduct research, and preserve the bird's habitat here in New Hampshire. To learn more about the LPC and its important work, click here.

The Harriers will have a rare chance to paddle out on the water with an LPC biologist, taking a canoe or kayak tour of loon habitat nearby. We'll observe loon behavior, looking for signs of nesting, and listen for their unmistakable vocalizations. Along the shores of  Lees Pond and Winnipesaukee, songbirds should be loud and active as well.

Back on land, we'll gather for a celebratory picnic of fruit and sandwiches. We'll take a look back to our spring trips, and lay out the Club's plans for the summer. This is an event not to be missed!

Meet at the Loon Center at 8:30 a.m., and we'll try to be on the water by 9:00. Bring water, binoculars, and an easy food to share with the group. Sandwich fixings will be provided. But we also need boats! Bring a canoe or kayak if you can; otherwise, we'll have one ready for you. However, we do need to know you're coming! R.S.V.P. to nhyoungbirders@gmail.com if we should expect you.

Jun
7
5:00 am05:00

Sunrise Reveille at Kennebunk Plains, ME

Upland Sandpiper
Photograph by Henry Walters

Late spring into summer, the Plains are bursting with with life. The air resounds with the ping­-pong singing match between Prairie Warblers and Field Sparrows. After sunset, Whip­-poor-wills and nocturnal insects fill the quiet, taking over for the April sky-dances of the woodcocks. By late summer, Northern Blazing Star--a wild aster--explodes across the landscape in broad strokes of purple. By some accounts, Kennebunk Plains is home to 90% of the total population of this plant.
Photograph by Fred Weymouth

Imagine a vast expanse of grassland, punctuated with wildflowers and shrubs and framed by pine barrens and upland forests. It is the tense twilight of dawn; the eastern sky is beginning to flame with the first hints of the rising sun. The plains awaken to the eerie wolf­-whistle of an Upland Sandpiper, a cry taken up and echoed from near and far. As the sun crests the horizon, Eastern Meadowlarks embellish their flute­like phrases, Bobolinks bubble up in musical exuberance, while Grasshopper Sparrows buzz from the tussocks and bushes. Horned Larks scurry across the dirt paths and Vesper Sparrows prove they are not just evening songsters.

You don't have to travel far from New Hampshire to experience a morning like this! Kennebunk Plains, just a hop, skip, and a jump over the border in Maine, is the largest sand-plain grassland in New England: the home of rare plants, like white-­topped aster and upright bindweed, and several species of birds and reptiles on the Maine state threatened and endangered species list, like the Eastern Black Racer and the Grasshopper Sparrow.

We'll meet bright and early for this one. Sunrise shows Kennebunk Plains at its best, before the heat of the day quiets the morning chorus of songsters. We'll try to assemble between 4:45 and 5:00 a.m., a few minutes before sunrise, and continue our explorations until around 11:00 a.m. Bring binoculars, water, and a bite of breakfast, as we'll need sustenance!

Rather than driving through the night, there is the possibility for overnight camping in the area on June 6; there are also carpooling options the day of. Just let us know if you're interested!

R.S.V.P. to nhyoungbirders@gmail.com.

May
24
9:00 am09:00

Birds and Blooms Scavenger Hunt!

  • Beaver Brook Association

Late May...the New Hampshire landscape's coming alive in more ways than one. Join us for our first annual Birds and Blooms Scavenger Hunt, to be held at the Beaver Brook Association in Hollis. Armed with a checklist and your own pamphlet of the flowers and animals that we may encounter, we'll do a lickety-split survey of one of the most beautiful tracts of land in our state, learning lots as we go. All are welcome to join in the hunt, which is far from cut-throat competition (and no cut flowers, either)! There will be prizes for all participants.  

If you've always wanted to put names to some of our state's flora, this is a great opportunity to learn, during one of the most beautiful weeks of the season. We'll meet at 9:00 a.m. at the main entrance off of Ridge Rd. Bring your binoculars, walking shoes (waterproof is nice!), and your best eyes and ears! R.S.V.P. to nhyoungbirders@gmail.com if you plan to attend.

Bloodroot in Bloom
Photograph by Ben Kimball
Apr
17
6:30 pm18:30

The Flight of the Woodcock

  • New Hampshire Audubon McLane Center
American Woodcock Photograph by Len Medlock

American Woodcock
Photograph by Len Medlock

One of the most elaborate, beautiful, and downright bizarre bird behaviors of the spring season comes from a roly-poly shorebird sitting in a wet field, making a sound like that of a truck backing up very slowly. When it bursts into flight, twittering like crazy and rising like a skylark out of sight and hearing, only to return to the precise spot where it began, you're not going to believe your eyes or ears! Join YBC Coordinator Phil Brown as he takes us on a walk in search of this spectacle. Meet outside New Hampshire Audubon's McLane Center on Silk Farm Rd. in Concord at 6:30 p.m.

 

Apr
12
10:00 am10:00

Young Birders in the Garden: Planning for Birds

  • Harris Center for Conservation Education

Hummingbird and Butterfly Bush
Photo by Steve Byland

Everybody likes a beautiful garden...but beautiful to whom? This spring, the Harriers have a unique opportunity to partner with community leaders at the Peterborough Community Center, helping to research, design, and plant a new garden, one that looks inviting not only to the human eye but to other wildlife as well! Taking a patch of barren lawn and turning it into a haven for birds, pollinators, and all manner of local wildlife, while also making it an inviting place for people to sit and relax...this is a tall order!

What plants do Ruby-throated Hummingbirds like best? How about Eastern Tiger Swallowtails? What berries provide the best nutrition for Eastern Bluebirds and Cedar Waxwings in the late fall? What shrubs will attract migrating warblers on their way north and south? On April 12, we'll meet at the Harris Center to learn something about the plants that we'll be working with for this project, and make some initial sketches for what this new patch of garden might look like. And later in the year, we'll meet at the site to turn these ideas into a reality!

(Care for a bit of homework? You can prepare for the session by taking a look at these two helpful articles from the New York Times.)

After our gardening workshop, we'll also have a "tech session" to introduce Harriers and their parents to eBird, an excellent online tool for up-and-coming citizen scientists, and a wonderful resource for birders of all sorts, young and old.

We'll end with a quick romp around the Harris Center woods, with a visit to nearby locations of vernal pools, where we'll check for signs of spring life: frogs, salamanders, and who knows what!

R.S.V.P. to nhyoungbirders@gmail.com if you're coming! We look forward to seeing you.

Mar
14
9:00 am09:00

South Maine Harlequin Hunt (and more!)

  • Kittery Trading Post

Harlequin Duck
Photograph by Len Medlock

Blue streak, glacier duck, lords and ladies, mountain duck, painted duck, rock duck, squeaker, totem-pole duck, white-­eyed diver, whatever you call it, the Harlequin Duck is a well-dressed and intriguing species. After spending the summer along remote, fast-flowing streams in Canada, harlequins head to the ocean, and more than half of the eastern population end up wintering off the coast of Maine.

With Katrina Fenton as our expert guide, we'll begin our day at Fort Foster in Kittery, ME, a haven for lingering birds, where the unexpected lurks behind every bush and wave­-washed rock. Over 100 species have been documented at Fort Foster even in the dead of winter, and though we'll be heading to better spots for harlequins, we're sure to turn up something interesting!

Next stop, Cape Neddick in York, where a Snowy Owl can often be found perched near Nubble Lighthouse. Harlequins and other sea ducks swim through the waters below, along with the occasional Razorbill, murre, and Dovekie, while Purple Sandpipers watch from the rocks.

Then on to Marginal Way Walkway in Ogunquit where we'll walk the path along the top of a cliff overlooking Oarweed Cove, wintering place for one of the largest concentrations of Black Scoters in Southern Maine, along with the other two scoter species, Common Eiders, and a host of other waterbirds, including (you guessed it) harlequins!

If we have the time and want to keep birding, we might even squeeze in a trip to the famous Cliff House in York for another chance of seeing sea ducks at their finest and maybe picking up a Pacific Loon or some other new species for the day.

We'll meet at the Kittery Trading Post parking lot at 9:00 a.m. Be sure to dress warmly, and it's a good idea to bring ice cleats if you have them, as the trails might still be a little slick. Bring a picnic lunch and a thermos full of hot chocolate! Carpooling options are available. If you're interested in the trip, please R.S.V.P. to nhyoungbirders@gmail.com.

Feb
28
7:00 pm19:00

Astronomy Night...Take 2!

  • Dublin School

Before Dawn: a view from Dublin School's Perkin Observatory
Photograph by Joseph Putko, Director

The Harriers' first astronomy night in November drew a great crowd to the Perkin Observatory in Dublin, New Hampshire. It also drew clouds, unfortunately, giving us only a fleeting glimpse of Orion rising to the east. On February 28, we'll try again to use the terrific telescope to view Jupiter, the Pleiades, and other stunning objects in the winter sky. While the waxing moon will wash out some constellations, it does have a perk! Owls are likely to be calling under a bright moon this time of year, and we'll travel a short distance to listen for them on the outskirts of Dublin. Bring your warm coats, hats, and maybe even something hot to drink. We'll meet at the Observatory (at the highest point on Dublin School's campus--click here for a detailed map) at 7:00. Your RSVP is important: if skies are looking cloudy, we'll let you know that the event has been postponed. 

Jan
10
8:30 am08:30

Conduct an Eagle Survey!

An adult Bald Eagle surveys the lay of the land from his snag
Photograph by Aiden Moser

In recent years, one of the most exciting developments in the New Hampshire bird world is the explosive increase in the number of Bald Eagles nesting and wintering in our state. Decimated during the "DDT era" of decades past, the eagle has made an amazing recovery throughout the north-east, and is now a more and more common sight (though no less awe-inspiring!) along our river valleys and beside our lakes and ponds. 

Each year, New Hampshire Audubon biologist Chris Martin leads a team of volunteer "surveyors" to take a census of Bald Eagles present in our region. This January, the Harriers are invited to come along! Join us for a half-day survey of the Surry Dam area near Keene, as we help sight and document this most majestic and striking of all our raptor species. 

Meeting times and itinerary have yet to be finalizedstay tuned! Let us know if you're interested in participating, though: R.S.V.P. to nhyoungbirders@gmail.com.

Dec
7
10:00 am10:00

Harvard Museum of Natural History

  • Harvard Museum of Natural History

For a bewildering, mind-blowing, beyond-all-imagination experience of the variety of bird life on this planet, you don't need to go to the jungles of Papua New Guinea or the Amazon basin: the Harvard Museum of Natural History has one of the world's largest and best collections of bird specimens, both from our New England and from around the globe. What did the extinct Dodo look like? What sort of nest does an African weaver build? And have you ever seen a wall completely covered in hummingbirds?

As we tour the collection, we'll talk about avian adaptation, evolution, and taxonomy. We'll meet with a graduate student in ornithology at Harvard, who can describe his work to us as well as his love of birds. And we'll take time to sketch specimens from the collection, right there in the museum. All in all, it won't be a trip to miss!

We'll meet at the museum at 10:00 a.m. Price of admission depends in part on the size of our group, but young Harriers will pay approximately $5, and adults, $10. Carpooling options down to Cambridge are available. If you're interested in the trip, let us know in advance at nhyoungbirders@gmail.com. Plan to bring a bag lunch, and your walking shoes! The Museum offers hours of excitementand its birds are only the beginning!

Nov
22
7:30 pm19:30

Astronomy Night, with Telescope!

  • Dublin School

Photograph by Len Medlock

Nothing better than dark skies with the great winter constellations rising in the east! The Harriers will hold their first Astronomy Night at the Dublin School Observatory in Dublin, NH, high on the shoulder of Mount Monadnock. What stories do the stars tell us? And what stories have our ancestors seen in them? On a moonless night, we'll look through the terrific telescope at objects inside and outside our Milky Way Galaxy. Afterwards, we'll take a short walk to a cabin in the woods, listen for calling owls, and warm up with some hot cocoa. Meet at the Observatory (at the highest point on Dublin School's campus) at 7:30. Your RSVP is important: if skies are looking cloudy, we'll let you know that the event has been postponed. Rain date is Monday, November 24 at 7:30.