Montauk: Lingering Cory's Shearwater and Common Terns - 18 Oct 09

The combination of a really strong easterly wind (40 knot gusts), tempestuous seas and driving rain made birding, shall we say, a little difficult this morning. First I seawatched from Main Beach in the Village of East Hampton (Suffolk Co.). Good numbers of Laughing Gulls and Gannets were just visible in the gloom as they fed on bait fish some distance offshore. A steady procession of gulls would fly into the beach for a break and then head out again giving some chance to look through them. I got no sense that there was a seabird flight, simply birds moving around as they fed or rested. Highlights were an unidentified JAEGER, 2 ROYAL TERNS and 4 COMMON TERNS.

I then ventured out to Montauk Point, where the weather seemed even worse but at least there was some shelter from the rain at the restaurant. Again, no evidence of a movement but plenty of birds to look at, including an estimated 800 COMMON EIDER and a comparable number of scoter. The highlight was a lingering CORY'S SHEARWATER that made repeated forays through the flocks of feeding gulls and sea duck. Also 2 COMMON TERNS. Red-throated Loons were more in evidence but no alcids or kittiwakes yet.

Three adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were on the beach at Montauk Point. Another adult was on the shore at Fort Pond Bay, where 4 Ringed-neck Ducks and a Lesser Scaup have returned to Tuthill's Pond. Two additional LESSER BLACK-BACKS were on the field off Further Lane in Amagansett, making a total of 6 for the morning. A couple of AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS linger on Hick's Island in Napeague.

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