Seawatch – 16 November 2014

"And here I thought yesterday was amazing.. It was, but today while having relatively less gannets and loons, still was host to tons of birds AND had an amazing whale show in the afternoon! The day started out right with a bang and from the moment I got there birds were gearing up. The first 20 minutes were light, but then someone flipped the switch and the Red-throated Loons and Northern Gannets just poured forth. Throw in steady pulses of scoter flocks and it kept me on the edge for a couple of hours. Thankfully Sams Wilson & Galick showed up and helped do some counting as several gull species and mixed dabbling duck/scaup flocks started getting in on the action. I do so love teasing apart mixed duck flocks and today was a great chance to do exactly that. Another feature that made me love today was the overcast lighting over the ocean- the birds were so well illuminated and features like scaup or wigeon wing stripes were really popping. Over the course of the day, another 30,000 waterbirds were tallied in- over 16K in Red-throated Loons in two days! 

But yeah, it was all about the late afternoon whale show. A Humpback Whale with a calf spend a few hours feeding offshore, and wow, did it give a performance. It did a full spy-hop, rising out of the ocean to check out the fishing boats nearby before starting to feed vigorously. At times it would lunge up out of the water with it's mouth open and water pouring out like a falls. A few times it rolled side-wise and showed off its lengthy flippers! Such a beautiful animal, I feel privileged and thankful to have witnessed it for so long today." – S.H.

[Humpback Whale. Photo by Sam Galick.]

Observation time: 0642 – 1701
Observer: Skye Haas

Species counted:
Brant – 15
Wood Duck – 92
Gadwall – 8
American Wigeon – 61
American Black Duck – 279
Mallard – 4
Northern Shoveler – 16
Northern Pintail – 22
Green-winged Teal – 1,037
Redhead – 11
Greater Scaup – 72
Lesser Scaup – 89
scaup, sp. – 158
aythya, sp. – 15
Surf Scoter – 4,458
White-winged Scoter – 9
Black Scoter – 5,817
Surf/Black Scoter – 3,343
Long-tailed Duck – 25
Bufflehead – 43
Hooded Merganser – 18
Red-breasted Merganser – 50
duck, sp. – 170
Red-throated Loon – 6,686
Common Loon – 13
Pacific/Red-throated Loon – 1
Horned Grebe – 9
Northern Gannet – 5,636
Double-crested Cormorant – 237
Great Cormorant – 2
Great Blue Heron – 6
Laughing Gull – 215
Bonaparte's Gull – 155
Ring-billed Gull – 1,050
Herring Gull – 91
Great Black-backed Gull – 14
Forster's Tern – 386
Royal Tern – 4
Parasitic Jaeger – 1

Ruddy Turnstone – 2
Sanderling – 60
Dunlin – 80
Purple Sandpiper – 32
shorebird, sp. – 1

Total: 30,317

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