Thursday, February 26, 2009

As An Interesting Aside....

I thought it was interesting to read Bob's recount of the bay birding the morning. I was at the Concrete Ship after he'd seen the grebes and while I had mostly the same species we of course had two different perspectives.

I was interested to see that Bob's estimate of Black Scoter was just a little above mine but as he said we both gave very conservative counts. By and far the overall majority of scoter were Black with much lesser numbers of Surfs, that could be identified, and no White-wings that I could see. Also a good number of birds in the distance which I personally could not put to exact species and remained "dark winged".

In the realm of differing perspectives, while reviewing some eBird records I noted that other observations of about 5500 up to 8000 counts were submitted for dark winged and scoter species. I am not sure when those observations were made but given the lighting conditions, waves and whether or not the flocks were more mobile, it could be difficult to determine true densities of species. As always, it is best to err on the side of caution when you can't put an exact name to the birds. In the morning the flocks were close enough to determine that Black Scoter was the dominant but as the day wears on and the birds move farther into the bay it becomes much more difficult.

Other birds of note were the small numbers of Northern Gannets moving out of the bay this morning, a couple Greater Scaup and a small but decent number of Red-throated Loons. Also a very brief look at a young male Common Eider as it landed with one of the flocks of scoter. After the bird landed it was to never be seen again, by my eyes at least. The Red-throated Loon numbers should be building over the next few weeks as well and a great place to get looks at both scoter and the loons is Sunset Beach. There can often bee a 100 or so loons as well as the masses of scoter and often quite close.

Location: Cape May - Concrete Ship
Observation date: 2/26/09
Number of species: 15

Greater Scaup 2
Common Eider 1
Surf Scoter 350
Black Scoter 5000
dark-winged scoter sp. 1000
Long-tailed Duck 4
Red-breasted Merganser 1
Red-throated Loon 20
Common Loon 1
Northern Gannet 35
Bonaparte's Gull 15
Ring-billed Gull X
Herring Gull X
Great Black-backed Gull X
Fish Crow X

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2

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