Parker River National Wildlife Refuge featuring photography by barbara batchelder

Located in the northern coastal region of Massachusetts lies Plum Island bordered on one side by the Atlantic Ocean and on the other by Plum Island Sound. This area is home to the Parker River Natoinal Wildlife Refuge. A nature photographer's paradise, the PRNWR is home to numerous species of birds, mammals, insects, amphibians, reptiles, etc., and some amazing scenery. In June, 2016, I was able to spend time over several days exploring the refuge and photographing some of its inhabitants and beautiful landscapes.

The refuge is a place of beauty and calm.

Visiting in mid-June, the refuge was still a veritable nursery filled with the young that began their lives earlier in the Spring. Little goslings, ducklings, tree swallows, and piping plovers were among those seen.

There were lots of goslings and duckings

Beginning in April lasting into August, the beach at the refuge is closed because of the nesting Piping Plovers, an endangered and protected species. Until the young plovers fledge their nests, access is restricted. It is possible to go to the end of the refuge at Sandy Point and access the beach there which is state property vs the other beach which is federal. At the Sandy Point beach, the nesting area for the Piping Plovers is cordoned off to warn people from interfering with or perhaps stepping on the little birds whose color blends in with the sand. A visit to Sandy Point was rewarded with some of the little Piping Plovers, who evidently didn't read the posted signs, and chose to venture outside of their designated area. They were very cute scurrying about as their mom stayed close and watched over them. Thank goodness for a zoom lens that allowed me to catch their antics from a safe distance.

Piping Plovers on the beach at Sandy Point

In a tree located by the observation tower between the North and Bill Forward pools there were nesting Tree Swallows in a cavity of the tree. On our first visit we witnessed the adult Tree Swallows flying back and forth to the nest to feed their babies. By the end of the week, one of the babies was sticking his head out of the nest to take a peek at the outside world.

Tree Swallows bringing food to the nest, and a little one peeking out to say "Hello, World!"

Egrets were also plentiful during our visit, but the excitement at seeing one of these majestic birds never fades.

Egrets at the PRNWR

One day during a visit to the area of the Bill Forward Pool, I looked across to the other side of the pool and spied an otter bounding toward the water with what appeared to be either a snake or an eel dangling in its mouth. Someone told me the otters had a den down the hill from where I was standing. I watched and photographed as the otter made its way across the pool with his "lunch."

Otter bringing home lunch

Each visit to the refuge offered a new experience. Sometimes the birdlife was on the quiet side, and others it looked like they were having a convention. I cannot wait for September when we will visit the refuge again. What an amazing place!

Sunset at PRNWR

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© Barbara Batchelder 2016. All rights reserved.

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Barbara Batchelder


All photography copyright by Barbara Batchelder 2016. All rights reserved.

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