Chris Blagdon and Janice Zepko
Thirteen members gathered in Gloucester at the parking lot of Sweet Water Grille (the old Friendly’s) at Grant’s Circle. Right from the parking lot many members were treated to excellent views of the previously reported Wood Stork flying into the marsh. Also there were 6 Great Blue Herons, 50+ Bufflehead, 6 Black Ducks and a Carolina Wren. It was a great start to a very nice day of birding.
Jodrey’s Pier was next giving us 3 Long-tailed Ducks. Seth was not fond of this duck’s new name and continued to refer to them as Oldsquaw, not because he didn’t identify with the more politically correct name, but just because he was a poet and thought Oldsquaw was a more colorful and poetic name for the beautiful, graceful duck. Also there were Common Loon (2), DC Cormorant (15), C Eider (75), Surf Scoter (1), our three usual gulls, but no white-winged gulls. Someone mentioned that the warmer weather might have delayed their migration.
Rocky Neck added Red-breasted Merganser (35), Red-throated Loon (4) and Bufflehead (3), along with Mockingbird. Also present were C Loon (8), Surf Scoter (10), DC Cormorant (10) and hordes of European Starlings.
At Niles Beach, we added Bald Eagle (1), Black Scoter (1), and Catbird.
While Eastern Point gave some who ventured out to the rocky precipice two Black Guillemots, a Gannet and three Purple Sandpipers, those that stayed behind, mostly due to the limited parking, were still treated to crows mobbing a Bald Eagle, C Loon (6), Surf Scoter (25), Bufflehead (4), RB Merg, C Eider (75), Long-tailed Duck (15), and another Carolina Wren singing for all.
A brief stop at Niles Pond added Ring-necked Ducks (10). Also there were Bufflehead (10), RB Merg, Black Duck (12), Mallard (5), Great Blue Heron, Blue Jay and yet another Carolina Wren!
Next stop, and last before lunch, was the Elks Club, where more of us got views of Black Guillemot (3). This location added 6 Red-necked Grebes, 30 White-winged Scoters, and a Cooper’s Hawk. Other highlights were eight Purple Sandpipers just below us atop a rock near the water’s edge, three Gannets, six Surf Scoters, 18 Bufflehead and four Common Loons.
Our usual break for lunch at Stop and Shop gave us a Red-tailed Hawk perched in a tree, a Great Blue Heron, Mallards, a Blue Jay, and more Starlings.
The afternoon birding began at Loblolly Cove where we added Harlequin Duck (3). Other birds were Purple Sandpiper (3), Gannet (3), C Loon (4), RB Merg (6) and House Finch.
On to Granite Pier for our only Savannah Sparrow, who posed for a long time on a large rock lining the parking area. There were also three Song Sparrows, Gannet (3), Harlequin (4), C Loon (4), C Eider (5), Bufflehead (2), and DC Cormorant (3).
Cathedral Rocks did not add any new birds to our list, but did give us more Gannets (2), Harlequins (12), Buffleheads (6), C Eiders (15), C Loons (5), Surf Scoters (11), RB Mergs (2), DC Cormorants (2) and Herring Gulls.
Andrew’s Point has become a fussy place to park, with multiple “No Parking” signs along the side streets. We were able to park a couple of blocks away on a small town-owned parcel and walk to our usual birding spots. Along the walk we picked up Chickadee, Junco, Song Sparrow, House and Goldfinch, and Cardinal. The ocean gave us C Loon (6), RT Loon (1), C Eider (40), Harlequin (13), a very nice female Black Scoter, White-winged and Surf Scoters (3 each), and Long-tailed Duck (3), but no alcids.
Many of us ventured on to the last stop of the day at Halibut Point, where the only new bird was Downy Woodpecker. There were also Gannets (10), a male Black Scoter, C Eider (30), a flyby of two Brant and four Common Loons. The weather had become decidedly colder with a breeze keeping us clutching our coat collars on the walk back to the park area. All-in-all a wonderful day of coastal birding with a species total of 45!