Gannet flight, Little Blue Heron and King Eider - 29 Mar 2010

Although the undoubted stars of the weekend were the confiding SANDHILL CRANES in Sagponack, there were interesting birds to be found elsewhere. The brisk SE winds brought a good inshore flight of NORTHERN GANNETS and scoter heading eastwards throughout the day. The gannets were almost exclusively adults or near-adults, presumably intent on returning to their breeding colonies on Bonaventure Island in Quebec and beyond. I did two, 1-hr seawatches during the day, finding a similar mix of birds in each, but with a slight drop in the flow of gannets and uptick in the numbers of scoter as the day wore on. The first and coldest count was from Amagansett (8:23-9:23 am) and the second from Ditch Plains (1:55-2:55 pm).

Red-throated Loon - 37/54
Common Loon - 2/8
Horned Grebe - 3/4
Northern Gannet - 665/482
Black Scoter - 180/1002
Surf Scoter - 195/770
White-winged Scoter - 22/10
dark-winged scoter - 160/25
Common Eider - 7/36
Long-tailed Duck - 6/2
Red-breasted Merganser - 2/22

Other birds of note were an adult LITTLE BLUE HERON at Little Reed Pond in Montauk, a female KING EIDER off Gin Beach in Montauk, 8 PURPLE SANDPIPERS on the jetties at Montauk Inlet, a TURKEY VULTURE over the south end of Accabonac Harbor in Springs and the adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL at Lazy Point in Napeague, which I thought had departed (not seen over previous 2+ weeks) until Anthony Collerton's reported it again on Saturday.

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