Saturday, October 13, 2007

Jaeger and Great Cormorant at the Sea Watch

Birds were not exactly pouring by the Avalon Seawatch this afternoon, but enough was happening to pique any birder's interest. Ken Behrens picked out a distant adult light morph Parasitic Jaeger pursuing gulls, way out beyond the number 6 buoy, and cormorants passed in their typically disorganized fashion. Both Black and Surf Scoters appeared in small groups, and Ken (the official counter), Gail Dwyer, Hilary Cresko (CMBO's Seawatch interpreter) and I talked about these species in sillouette. Blacks have thin necks, so their head stands out from the neck, as well as steep foreheads. Surfs have thick necks and sloping foreheads. Ken noted that some people say there is a difference in the wingbeat, but I agree with his assessment - there really isn't. At least not much.

An adult Great Cormorant came past dwarfing the Double-crested Cormorant it was with - Greats weigh almost twice as much as Double-crested, though they are only a few inches longer.

Other species seen from the seawatch this afternoon included Royal, Forster's and Caspian Terns, Common Loons, Northern Gannets, Green-winged Teal, and Peregrine Falcon.

This morning my first Dark-eyed Juncoes of the fall graced the thicket east of the Nature Center of Cape May, and with them was an immature White-crowned Sparrow, White-throated Sparrows, and many Golden-crowned Kinglets.

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