Kittiwakes and Little Gull off Montauk Point & extremely late Northern Rough-winged Swallow in Deep Hollow - 29 Nov 2009

The largest number of 'small, non-Laughing' gulls that I've seen out here in a while were off Montauk Point (Suffolk Co.) this morning.There were more than 300 Bonaparte's Gulls with at least 45 BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES (max count for single sweep, 50:50 ads:1st winters) and a striking 1st-winter LITTLE GULL. I counted only 15 Laughing Gulls, a very low number for this date. I arrived at slack tide which was probably not ideal as the many of the gulls stopped feeding around 10 am and either settled on the water or flew northward into the center of Gardiners Bay. Many of the Red-throated Loons also took to the air and headed in the same direction. Other than these gulls, I couldn't pull out any other birds of note. Plenty of loons, eiders and scoter but no alcids yet.

At Deep Hollow, the CACKLING GOOSE continues on the south pasture and has been joined by an adult SNOW GOOSE. Whilst looking for through the geese I noted a swallow flying low over the pasture, sometime alighting on the fences. Initially the light was really poor (straight into the sun) but eventually I got good looks confirming that it was a NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW. Exceptionally late from a coastal standpoint. It soon disappeared but later I relocated it over the ponds on the north side of Rt 27. Needless to say I thought about but quickly ruled out, Brown-chested Martin - a more outlandish but not entirely unreasonable possibility given the recent sighting from MA and the late fall bird from Cape May NJ a few years back. Otherwise, passerines seemed few and far between today despite the glorious weather.

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