Avalon Seawatch - 2018 Season in Review

Hi everyone!

Here's a brief breakdown of some Seawatch totals and highlights for the 2018 season!

Top 5 (south):

Black Scoter - 280,462 [Highest season total ever]
Surf Scoter - 114,909
Red-throated Loon - 59,828
Northern Gannet - 33,812
Double-crested Cormorant - 129,478

Rarities (north + south):

Cackling Goose - 1
Ross's Goose - 1
King Eider - 3
Harlequin Duck - 4
Pacific Loon - 1
Cory's Shearwater - 5
Manx Shearwater - 10
shearwater sp. - 3
Red-necked Grebe - 9
Brown Booby - 1
Piping Plover - 1
Marbled Godwit - 1
Black-legged Kittiwake - 20
Little Gull - 1
Arctic Tern - 1
Pomarine Jaeger - 4
Long-tailed Jaeger - 1
Razorbill - 2530
large alcid sp. - 1259

Other Notable Totals (south):

Northern Pintail - 947 on 10/16 [highest single day total ever]
Common Eider - 266 [third highest season ever]
Long-tailed Duck - 3528 [highest season since 1997]
Red-breasted Merganser - 995 [second lowest season ever]
Black-crowned Night-Heron - 68 on 10/12 [second highest single day total]
American Oystercatcher - 177 on 10/12 [highest single day total ever]

A huge thanks to all the visitors who visited the Seawatch this season, to Swarovski for providing the amazing optics, and to Tom Reed for all his help this season!

David Weber

Seawatch - December 17-22

The final week of the Seawatch!  And what a week it was.  We had a massive flight of Razorbills; the largest in Seawatch history.  We also topped off the season with a few rarities!  Here are the totals per day:

December 17: 1610
December 18: 2768
December 19: 2617
December 20: 1695
December 21: 71
December 22: 4369

Tom Reed had some excellent birds on Monday and Tuesday, with a Canvasback, two Harlequin Ducks, a late Laughing Gull, and 6 Black-legged Kittiwakes.  There was also an excellent Long-tailed Duck flight on Tuesday the 18th, with 804 southbound birds.   

Wednesday had a couple Mute Swan fly north past the jetty, a scarce bird at the Seawatch, a southbound Ruddy Duck, and a Red-necked Grebe.  And the last day of the Seawatch, the 22nd, had two jaegers--one a Pomarine and another left unidentified.

But undoubtably the highlight of the week was the massive Razorbill flight that occurred.  Here are the numbers of both southbound and northbound birds, adding together both closer definite Razorbills and distant large alcid sp. (which are almost certainly all Razorbill):

Monday the 17th: 9 south, 220 north
Tuesday the 18th: 713 south, 113 northWednesday the 19th: 455 south, 108 northThursday the 20th: 6 south, 59 northFriday the 21st: 0 (fogged in)Saturday the 22nd: 2067(!!!) south, 27 north

I even went back out at sunrise the day after the count ended to see if the movement continued, and Tom Reed the day after that:

Sunday the 23rd: 453 south
Monday the 24th: 298 south

That's an unprecedented total of over 4500 actively migrating alcids in 8 days! (To put that in perspective, the highest season total for Razorbill before this week was 86!) And with over 2000 on the last day of the count, along with 1000 Northern Gannets, the last day was certainly memorable!

That's a wrap on another great season!  Stay tuned for a season overview and wrap-up!

David Weber 

Seawatch - December 10-16

What started off as a good week with good scoter movement and diversity ended as a very slow week with little movement.  Here are the totals:

December 10: 4532
December 11: 2675
December 12: 970
December 13: 1584
December 14: 648
December 15: 396
December 16: 606

Tom Reed had a good Monday and Tuesday highlighted by a Razorbill, Cackling Goose, Red-necked Grebe, and a Black-legged Kittiwake, along with a couple thousand scoters. The rest of the week afterward, however, was very slow with very little movement.  Check out the individual day totals to see more details!

Stay tuned for our last week of the count!  As a little sneak preview, we've had at least a couple Razorbills so far...

David Weber

Seawatch - December 3-9, 2018

Unlike last week, this week was much more consistent with west and northwesterly winds all week and 2-4 thousand birds.  Here're the totals for the week:

December 3: 4904
December 4: 3204
December 5: 2102
December 6: 2690
December 7: 2221
December 8: 3477
December 9: 2372

Tom Reed had very diverse days on the 3rd and 4th, highlighted by a Ross's Goose, Canvasback and Redheads, a Common Merganser, 3 Razorbills, 2 King Eiders, a Harlequin Duck, a Red-necked Grebe, and even a late Least Sandpiper and an American Woodcock coming in off the ocean.

Wednesday the 5th was relatively slow but brought a Humpback Whale and another Harlequin duck.  The 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th all brought 100+ Long-tailed Ducks each day.  The 8th had another small push of scoters, with 1000+ Black Scoters and 300+ Surf Scoter.

There are some east winds in the forecast, so make sure to keep track of what shows up at the Seawatch!