What’s Been Seen: Scan The Hull Times and scroll through social media. Bird sightings are all around us. A Bald Eagle was seen down by the Weir River. A Peregrine Falcon fought off the snow. January was an active month for birds and birders in Hull. And, as expected, the species diversity is holding pretty steady, as it should in the coldest month of the year. Of the 32 species of birds seen from Pemberton Point last month, 13 were on the water and three were gulls. In other words, 50% of the species were somehow tied to the ocean. With the deep cold from the middle of the month onward, sightings became fewer and far between on the fresh and brackish water places. Areas like Straits Pond and the Weir River became less “productive,” as birders like to say. Instead, watching Purple Sandpipers on the rocks at the base of Atlantic Hill, or standing on Summit Avenue and scoping for the King Eider that has hung around all winter have been better bets. One birder even found a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker up there. My favorite? On January 2, I watched a Common Raven fly across Hull Gut. I claimed it as ours before it crossed any manmade political boundaries. Let Weymouth get their own Ravens.
What to Expect: Four short weeks is all we have left before the first stirrings of spring become apparent. Much will happen in the first week of March, as migrants of all kinds start to move, but for now, we should focus on the status quo. Take a close look at the Common Loons off Pemberton Point. Can you tell them apart from the Red-throated Loons? Watch the Buffleheads as they start to gather in larger flocks, preparing to move north next month. Have you caught the iridescence on the head of the male? Listen, on a warm day, for the first songs of spring. Black-capped Chickadees are known to sing their two-note spring song as early as late January. With the backdrop of snow, just look at how the male Northern Cardinal’s red color vibrantly pops. Before we know it, we’ll be all Ospreys and Piping Plovers; enjoy the winter while you can.