Seawatch - 12 October 2014

Observation time: 0605 -. 1845
Observer: Skye Haas

Species counted:
Dabbler sp. - 7
Wood Duck - 1
Gadwall - 18
American Wigeon - 17
American Black Duck - 41
Mallard - 6
Blue-winged Teal - 1
Northern Pintail - 29
Green-winged Teal - 409
Scaup sp. - 12
Aythya sp. - 27
Common Eider - 3
Duck sp. - 63
Surf Scoter - 737
White-winged Scoter - 4
Black Scoter - 2,045
Dark-winged Scoter - 90
Scoter sp. - 25
Long-tailed Duck - 1
Ruddy Duck - 1
Red-throated Loon - 19
Common Loon - 16
Loon sp. - 4
Red-necked Grebe - 1
Northern Gannet - 7
Brown Pelican - 4
Double-crested Cormorant - 6,369
Great Cormorant - 1
Great Blue Heron - 28
Great Egret - 72
Snowy Egret - 43
Laughing Gull - 257
Ring-billed Gull - 2
Herring Gull - 5
Great Black-backed Gull - 9
Caspian Tern - 8
Forster's Tern - 159
Royal Tern - 26
Parasitic Jaeger - 5
Jaeger sp. - 4
American Oystercatcher - 38
Dunlin - 135
Black-bellied Plover - 85
Semipalmated Plover - 1
Calidris sp. - 40

Total: 10,875

A note from Skye:
What a great day at the Seawatch! A lot of birds migrated past Avalon today, and along with some large numbers, the species diversity was excellent with 40 species of waterbirds. Several season "firsts" were seen including Mallard, Common Eider, Long-tailed Duck, Ruddy Duck and Red-necked Grebe. 
I really enjoyed the pacing of the flight today and how it progressed. The morning started with a strong dabbler flight; Green-winged Teal had their best flight this season, and nearly every other dabbler except for Shovelors made an appearance. All the while Double-crested Cormorants flocks were flying by, and by mid-morning as the ducks slowed down, the corms really picked up with nearly two thousands by in one hour midday. Then in the late afternoon, the comorants started to slow down just as the scoters really started moving in big numbers. The combined scoter total for the day ended up being 2,897. While there are even bigger days to come, it is good to see this staple of the Avalon count finally get going. Very entertaining was the large pod of Bottle-nosed Dolphins that started doing vigorous back-flips in the waves as the scoters skimmed above them. It was in the scoter flocks that we started picking out the little cool nuggets, the hen Ruddy and Long-tailed Ducks, the Red-necked Grebe and late in the final hour three female Common Eiders came by. Particularly cool was down at the Hawk Deck, the CMBO "Big Sit" team was busy working on breaking the North American record for a Sit. I would contact Tom Reed after getting a good bird past Avalon and then about 25-30 minutes later they actually picked up a couple of them! In fact their final bird of the day was the Red-necked Grebe winging its way past the Cape! But there was a final push of a few new birds late in the count; a little helping of Jaegers started to move through, but particularly enchanting in the pink and purple evening clouds were flocks of Great and Snowy Egrets migrating far over the ocean, truly a beautiful sight to behold!

Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets. [Photo by Mike Kilpatrick.]

Black Scoter, White-winged Scoter, and the Red-necked Grebe that was the 150th species for the Big Sit. [Photo by Mike Kilpatrick.]

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