We love birding in Vermont, but we also enjoy birding in other areas. Plum Island, off the coast of Massachusetts, is a mecca for birds and birders alike - and it's only about four hours away.
Parker River National Wildlife Refuge takes up most of the island, with seashore, estuary, rivers, dunes, walking trails, boardwalks, and the largest unbroken salt marsh in New England.
In May, the shrubs and trees of the Refuge are full of newly-returned migrants.
Catbirds sing from every third bush.
Birders and nature photographers haunt the woods in search of the 36 species of warblers that have been seen on the island.
Eastern Towhees are everywhere, usually rustling around in the underbrush but occasionally coming out for a photo op.
Shorebirds use the island as a stop-over during spring migration and again from late August through mid-December.
(From top to bottom: Sanderlings, Willet, Greater Yellowlegs, Willet in flight)
In spring and summer, the marshes are full of herons and egrets, like this Snowy Egret showing off his "golden slippers".
The National Wildlife Refuge system was designed to provide feeding areas for waterfowl - and ducks love the salt marshes of Parker River Refuge! Winter brings thousands of American Black Ducks.
There are also Gadwalls and Northern Pintails (pictured below) as well as many others.
Short-eared Owls are a special winter treat on the island. These tawny beauties can be seen cruising over dunes and grassy areas from about 3PM until sunset and again in the early morning.
At any time of year, Plum Island features great natural beauty.
Plum Island is famous for astonishing sunrises and sunsets.
Last May, we spent five days on Plum Island and were joined by other Vermont birders for two guided walks.
It was unseasonably cold - and VERY windy - but the birding and the camaraderie were great!
We'll be heading back to the island in May 2018. Check in with us in January for specific dates!
Plum Island, Massachusetts - Birds,
Beauty, More Birds ... and Relaxation!!