Eric Masterson Inteviews on New Hampshire Public Radio

Just in time for Star’s September birding weekend, we bring you an interview with Eric Masterson, a land specialist for the Harris Center for Conservation Education. He also happens to be a birding expert (author of Birdwatching in New Hampshire) and leader of the Island’s birding weekends.

A snowy owl.

A snowy owl.

This interview about a recent influx of snowy owls to the state aired on March 20 in the “Word of Mouth” section of New Hampshire Public Radio. But island naturalist, Arthur Eves, recently witnessed a snowy owl at work on Star this past week during LOAS I. An unusual time of year to see one for sure!

We’ve also seen evidence of their work during the winter, with a Red-breasted Merganser left on the tennis court and eaten over the past year undoubtedly by a snowy.

Hope you listen in and enjoy. Find the story here.

When you’ve finished listening, remember to sign up to see Eric this September 19-21 on the Island as well. Sign up for the conference here. You can also find out more about Eric’s conferences this past May by reading his blog  or talking to folks in Natural History Week when he served as the theme speaker.

Find the link for Star’s conference page here:
Find the interview link on NHPR here:
Find Eric Masterson’s Web site here:


Pelican sighted near Isles of Shoals…well, sort of….

Pelican sighted in Northern Maine (Photo courtesy of Paul Cyr Photography).

Some of you may be wondering, even after all these years, how our staff got its name. Yes, yes, we all know the story of the Princeton college kids sailing the boat named The Pelican.

But now they’re back! Or sighted at least in the North Atlantic. As Paul Cyr writes on his site,

No, this isn’t Florida, it’s Northern Maine! This American White Pelican was spotted at Long Lake late last week!

Find out more about Paul Cyr’s work here.
Site URL (in case the above link doesn’t work) is:

More of Eric Masterson’s birds of the Isles of Shoals

Short-billed Dowitcher, Star Island, May 10, NH May (Photo courtesy of Eric Masterson)

Short-billed Dowitcher, May 10, Star Island, NH (Photo courtesy of Eric Masterson)

You may recall that a month ago we were lucky enough to have New Hampshire birder and photographer Eric Masterson share some of the photos he took this May on Star Island of birds migrating through the Isles of Shoals. (You can look back at that post here.) Recently, he even visited Star Island during our ISHRA and NHC conferences to talk about his book , give us some of his insights into birding and display some beautiful photos.

We’re lucky enough to bring you a second installment of some of the photos he took this past May – with a whole bunch of new visitors. We hope you enjoy. And, remember, when you’re out on the Island to log the birds you see in our eBird account at the Rutledge Marine Laboratory.

Bobolink, May 10, Star Island, NH (Photo courtesy of Eric Masterson)

Bobolink, May 10, Star Island, NH (Photo courtesy of Eric Masterson)

Sedge Wren, May 10, Star Island, NH (Photo courtesy of Eric Masterson)

Sedge Wren, May 10, Star Island, NH (Photo courtesy of Eric Masterson)

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Eric Masterson’s birds of “Open-Up” on Star Island

Purple Sandpiper Star Island May 10 2013

Purple Sandpiper, May 10, Star Island, NH (Photo courtesy of Eric Masterson)

As Open-up (the period of time when a small but growing group of Pelicans get the Island ready for the summer) draws to a close today with the arrival of the Young Adults Conference (YAC), we have a rare treat for you!

Accomplished bird photographer Eric Masterson has lent us a few photos of this May’s feathered Star Island visitors. He has been bringing groups of avid birders out to the Island throughout the month to capture the many types of birds that migrate through the area in the spring.

Red-eyed Vireo Star Island May 22 2013

Red-eyed Vireo, May 22, Star Island, NH (Photo courtesy of Eric Masterson)

Eric reports on his site ( about the “dearth of spring migrants” in early May due to a stationary weather system that dominated the area. In his blog, he notes:

It blocked birds’ northward progress out of the Gulf States until the system dissipated on May 9th, and immediately thereafter a wave of new arrivals appeared. I led several trips to Star Island off the coast of New Hampshire through this period, during which I witnessed the effects of changing weather on bird movement. From slow beginnings, the conditions toward the end of the month turned favorable and resulted in a classic fallout of migrants along the coast of New England for several days beginning May 21st.

Thankfully for us, Eric has captured them with his camera.

Oystercatchers return to the Isles of Shoals

American Oystercatcher (Photo courtesy of CC 3.0 Googie man at en.wikipedia)

On Wednesday, June 5, a group of students from Hoboken Charter High School spotted four American Oystercatchers flying and landing on the northeast end of Smuttynose Island, north of the tide pools. Given the rockiness of the island and the dominance of black-backed gulls, it seems unlikely that they’ll stay but they did land for a bit. We’ve seen other birds that prefer the tide flats out there before so there is hope they’ll return.