The odyssey begins in March, on my way to the Seacoast. The last time a Trumpeter Swan was seen in New Hampshire was way back in the 1700s, before most of them were all but exterminated from North America, which occurred between the 1600 and 1800s. They were hunted for meat, skins that were used in powder puffs and for their white feathers used in quill pens. According to Wikipedia, The Hudson’s Bay Company killed 17,671 swans between 1853 and 1877 alone. By 1900, the remainder of them had all flown west, never to return. Until now. This is the big news at the Audubon this spring and amongst birders in New Hampshire. A Trumpeter Swan is being seen for the first time at the Abe Emerson Marsh in Candia. This is wonderful news. I must get out to see it, before it flies away. It takes me at least an hour to find the marsh and to bushwhack into where the swan is floating amongst the reeds.
I finally arrive at Odiorne State Park, where I spy between twenty and thirty Cedar Waxwings perched in an apple tree. They are feeding apple blossoms to one another in some type of mating behavior. The birds are so camouflaged that it is difficult to find them. I see a flutter here, a flutter there, and then I sit and watch them for a while.
I then decide to walk around the point on the ocean side. Another type of wildlife appears… the resident Groundhog!
Back near the Settler’s Monument, I see (for the first time) some interesting shore birds that I must go home and identify in my Sibley’s Guide. I am learning so much about birds and nature and it makes me so happy that I want to share it with everyone.
Next stop is the Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge, which is a great place to bring strollers and the elderly, because it has a boardwalk and isn’t too long of a jaunt.
I am now able to identify about 7 species of Warbler, and I am very proud of this!
A few days later, I meet up with a group of friends from the New Hampshire Audubon, a few of whom are serious birders. These experienced naturalists and scientists are helping me to learn, and I am so grateful to them. We meet one morning at Odiorne State Park, a hot spot in every season. One of the first birds we see is this Eastern Kingbird looking out towards the ocean.
Our group spots many other birds, including Red Eyed Vireo, Yellow Warbler and Magnolia Warbler, in addition to the usual suspects like the Mockingbird. On our way back to our cars, we notice how they have cleared out large sections of underbrush from the forest and we talk about how the county is working on bringing native species of plants and trees back to the park. This project includes removing invasive species such as certain vines and iris and replanting native species like scrub pine and lily of the valley.
Unfortunately, my spring wanderings have come to an end. Thank you for joining me on my journey to find spring birds in New Hampshire. I hope you enjoyed my writing and photos!