Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Death March, January 9, 2016

Did we march this year? - Yes we did!

Overcast, calm day at Race Point, ideal conditions to study gulls, alcids, shearwaters
and even some shorebirds. Photo by David Clapp

It was the calmest, dare I say balmy, day on Race Point beach in the memory of  our longtime leader Wayne Petersen as well as our veteran members and no one thought of this year's wonderful stroll on the beach as a "Death March".
Still the 2.5 mi walk each way on a sandy beach adds up and makes your legs feel like you really, really walked five miles!

Razorbill, photo by Steven Whitebread
The day had started at Head of the Meadow with great looks at Razorbills, diving Gannets and Kittiwakes galore as well as all the usual suspects. However the chilly wind made us  move on quickly. At Race point we were surprised by the incredibly calm conditions described above and walked "just a bit further - lets go to see round the corner - I think I saw some shearwaters" and so on and so forth until we actually reached Race Point lighthouse. And yes we did see the promised shearwaters - final count was 16 Manx Shearwaters! We also had exceptional looks at Razorbills and Dovekies close to shore. The murre's were unfortunately a little harder to find, but both species were seen by most of the group of 13 SSBC members. Still to be determined is a mystery gull - possibly a Thayer's.
Dovekie, photo by Steven Whitebread

Looking from Hatches harbor toward Herring Cove. Photo by David Clapp

The day was not done however by the time we returned. While all the passengers in the 4 cars gobbled down some very late lunch, the drivers took us over to Corn Hill Lane to find the Townsend Solitaire which has been hanging out there for the last few weeks. Success! We heard it give it's soft call as we arrived. It responded to a little pishing, popped up and posed for a back view and then flew off showing his lovely buffy bands at the base of his flight feathers.

map to illustrate how "lost"
 this bird is here on the East Coast
Townsend Solitaire, photo by Steven Whitebread

Below are the complete checklists from Race Point and Head of the Meadow.
Thanks to Wayne Petersen for once more leading this traditional trip, thanks to Glenn D'Entremont for keeping the bird list and to Steven Whitebread and David Clapp for the bird and birder photos.

Race Point Beach, Provincetown, Barnstable, Massachusetts, US
Jan 9, 2016 10:00 AM - 2:30 PM
Protocol: Traveling
2.5 mile(s)
Comments:     SSBC trip, Wayne Petersen leader
23 species

Brant (Atlantic)  4
American Black Duck  28
Mallard  1
Green-winged Teal (American)  2
Common Eider  600
Common Merganser  2     interestingly female in the ocean, male in Hatches Harbor
Red-breasted Merganser  10
Common Loon  5
Red-necked Grebe  2
Manx Shearwater  16     continuing group
Northern Gannet  25
Great Cormorant  1
Sanderling  46
Dunlin  85
Dovekie  5
Thick-billed Murre  3
Common Murre 1
Razorbill  350
Black-legged Kittiwake  150
Ring-billed Gull  X
Herring Gull (American)  X
Iceland Gull (kumlieni)  15     9 ad, 6 1W
Great Black-backed Gull  X
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  X

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Head of the Meadow Beach, N. Truro, Barnstable, Massachusetts, US
Jan 9, 2016 9:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Protocol: Stationary
Comments:     SSBC trip, Wayne Petersen leader
9 species

Common Eider  50
Surf Scoter  500
White-winged Scoter  200
Red-breasted Merganser  40
Red-throated Loon  1
Northern Gannet  50
Razorbill  600
Black-legged Kittiwake  100
Iceland Gull (kumlieni)  2     1 ad, 1 1W

Christine Whitebread

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