Seawatch - 8 October 2014

Observation time: 0702 - 1844
Observer: Skye Haas

Species counted:
Wood Duck - 4
American Wigeon - 1
Northern Pintail - 8
Green-winged Teal - 3
Dabbler sp. - 3
Duck sp. - 14
Surf Scoter - 6
Black Scoter - 20
Red-throated Loon - 1
Common Loon - 6
Northern Gannet - 11
Brown Pelican - 2
Double-crested Cormorant - 366
Great Blue Heron - 29
Snowy Egret - 3
Laughing Gull - 97
Herring Gull - 19
Great Black-backed Gull - 51
Caspian Tern - 6
Common Tern - 4
Forster's Tern - 686
Royal Tern - 34
Parasitic Jaeger - 48
Jaeger sp. - 6
Semipalmated Plover - 15
Sanderling - 1852
Ruddy Turnstone - 4
Western Sandpiper - 1
Black-bellied Plover - 274
Dowitcher sp. - 6
Calidrid sp. - 30
American Oystercatcher - 55
Redknot - 59
Dunlin - 5
Purple Sandpiper - 1
American Golden Plover - 2
Semipalmated Sandpiper - 2
Least Sandpiper - 1

Total: 3,735

A note from Skye:
While I have read such things were possible on the Avalon Seawatch, I must admit to being pretty blown away by the number of jaegers I saw migrating past me today. A whopping total of 54 birds, 48 of which could be identified as Parasitic Jaegers, of which nearly all were adult birds! Of the remaining six birds that couldn't be ID'd to species, there is one that sticks in my craw a little, as it sure had the feel and several of the field marks of a Pomarine Jaeger. But jaegers are tricksey birds and better birders then I have misidentified many a jaeger. I am hopeful with the strong jaeger season we have been having to get a solid look at a Pom sometime in the weeks to come. 

But today despite being yet another slow day for the "primary" count birds (ducks, loons, gannets and corms), was rocking with lots of terns and shorebirds. Being frequently harassed by the jaegers, the season saw its high count to date for Forster's Terns with 686 recorded. A few Common Terns and several Royal Terns passed by when the tern flocks really got rolling in the last hour of the count. 

Also impressive were the numbers of Black-bellied Plovers that came migrating off the ocean today with a total of 274. Also seen in its season's high count so far were 1852 Sanderlings. Often these flocks held little surprises and two American Golden Plovers and the season's first Purple Sandpiper came flying past the count site. Not too many non-passerines of note today, but a decent total of 10 Peregrines were recorded. 

One of the many Parasitic Jaegers seen at the Avalon Seawatch on 10/08/14. [Photo by
 Skye Haas
A closeup of a Parasitic Jaeger flying over Lake Superior on 09/01/2013. [Photo by Skye Haas.]

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