After driving through the historic town of Gloucester, we made it to the end of the road at Halibut Point State Park, a rocky promontory over the bay and a former quarry. As soon as we made our way down to the shore, a duck caught my eye. I brought up my binoculars and... it was a Harlequin Duck, my first ever. There were a total of twelve at the park, swimming off the rocks. These are my new favorite ducks, and I got excellent views of them. Also offshore were two more duck species, Common Eider and Long-tailed Duck. A small flock of Purple Sandpipers were feeding on a boulder near the Harlequins.
Next in line was Parker River NWR, where I hoped to see Short-eared Owls. We spotted a few Black Ducks and a Mute Swan right away, but things slowed down quickly. I guess I'm just used to the Outer Banks, where seeing 50+ species in a few hours is expected, but there were very few birds here in Massachusetts. I did see a few more Eiders, some Pintails, and a handful of gulls, but it didn't produce the same quality or quantity of bird sightings we had at Halibut Point. No sign of Short-eareds, but I did spot a Merlin as we were leaving.
I don't know what else is in store for my trip up North, but hopefully I can see some more great birds like I did today.