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 

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