Being thankful for Parasitic Jaeger, Kittiwake and loons: 26 Nov 2009

This morning I seawatched from a number of spots between Amagansett and Montauk Point. Flat calm and overcast conditions made for excellent viewing. The unusual dispersal of COMMON EIDERS is still much in evidence, with birds (sometimes in their hundreds) at every stop. Perhaps as a consequence, there were relatively few eider over the reefs at the Point. Alternatively, the absence of food in the traditional areas explains the western shift in distribution. Loons were also very much in evidence, with a nice flight of Red-throated Loons along the ocean until mid-morning. Squadrons of Northern Gannets pushed east in the direction of Block Island with almost no feeding activity. The CACKLING GOOSE continues on the pasture at Deep Hollow as does the adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL on the shore of Fort Point Bay. No Horned Grebes yet nor Razorbill - perhaps still a little early.

Here is my culmulative tally:

Common Loon - 345
Red-throated Loon - 659
loon sp. - 30
RED-NECKED GREBE - 1 (Fort Pond Bay)
Northern Gannet - 3,200+ (persistent flght, the majority heading east into RI waters or beyond)
Great Cormorant - 6 (Fort Pond Bay & Montauk Inlet jetties)
Double-crested Cormorant - 24
Brant - 33 (headed east)
Common Eider - 1,044 (widespread)
Red-breasted Merganser - 42
Long-tailed Duck - 2
Black Scoter - 1,490
Surf Scoter - 1,400
White-winged Scoter - 74
scoter sp. - 300
PARASITIC JAEGER - 1 subad. (flying east, seen from Atlantic Avenue, Amagansett)
BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE - 8 (6 juv. and 2 ad., flying east, seen from Amagansett & Napeague)
Bonaparte's Gull - 28
Laughing Gull - 22
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL - 1 ad. (Fort Pond Bay)

GRAY SEAL - 2 (Hither Hills State Park & Montauk Point)
Harbor Seal - 4 (Fort Pond Bay, Ditch Plains & Montauk)

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