Friday, December 28, 2007

Cape Ann 12/28/08

Common Eider
I headed toward the coast, for the first time since May, with Paul Meleski and Allan Marble, to chase some of the recently found rarities. Slaty-backed Gull, Townsend's Solitaire, Dovekie and Bohemian Waxwings.

Last Sunday David Sibley found a Slaty-backed Gull at Jodrey Pier in East Gloucester, about a 1/2 hour later Wayne Petersen and Dave Larson found another on Cape Cod about 60 miles away. First state records, but like a late night info-mercial with Billy Mays, there's more! Sibley thought the first and second looks he had of the Gloucester gull looked a bit different ... naw ... can't be! The following day Rick Heil finds the Gloucester Slaty-backed Gull(S) and "phone scopes" two different SB Gulls, here is the link :
We arrived about 10:30 and no sign of the Slaty-backed, but there are plenty of Common Eiders, a few Scaup, Red-breasted Mergs, Iceland and Glaucous Gulls. We speak with several birders and apparently there has been no sign of the gulls all morning. Eventually we do find a few of the Dovekies, a life bird for me (just never chased one down), I manage a few photos through the bins and Paul's scope.
Dovekie in Gloucester Harbor (digi-binned)
Another Dovekie in Gloucester Harbor (digi-scoped)
Be carefull near that boat little fella or maybe this Dovekie has a dark side?

We gave up on the Slaty-backs for a bit and headed off to the Rockport Golf Course, after walking the paved path ways and no Solitaire, a few things didn't add up. Oops, we're at the Bass Rocks Gold and Tennis Club, wrong place! Upon arrival at the correct golf course, we see a sign "Golf course closed and NO birdwatching", this must be the place. We bird from the street a bit, if the Solitaire is there its keeping a low profile because there is a very vocal and active Merlin carving up the sky and agitating the crows.

At Halibut Point we just missed a few Bohemian Waxwings and decide to head back to East Gloucester for the gulls. Niles Pond, just east of Gloucester harbor has a few thousand gulls on it, Herring, Great Black-backed, Ring Billed, Iceland (6) , Glaucous (4) and a few dozen Bonepart's. While the Slatys are not to found here, the venue provides great viewing of the various species and ages of gulls. One 2nd year type Glaucous is so pale it almost appears to be albino, but the bill looks like a typical 2nd winter Glaucous's should.

Pale white 2nd year Glaucous Gull
Pale white 2nd year Glaucous Gull (note 1/4/2008....having seen better photo of this bird, taken by Phil Brown (, this may not be a Glaucous . I have asked Phil about his opinions and opinions of others).

We skipped a lot of regular stops normally made on a trip to Cape Ann, as we had some specific birds in mind and a bit of a tight time schedule. While missed some target birds, Cape Ann is always a great winter birding destination and I'll be visiting again in January.

Today's list:

Canada Goose...300
Mute Swan...2
American Black Duck...25
Ring-necked Duck...8
Greater Scaup...8
Common Eider...200
White-winged Scoter...2
Long-tailed Duck...2
Common Goldeneye...2
Red-breasted Merganser...25
Common Loon...3
Cooper's Hawk...1
Red-tailed Hawk...1
Peregrine Falcon...2
Bonaparte's Gull...40
Herring Gull...800
Iceland Gull...8
Glaucous Gull...4
Great Black-backed Gull...600
Rock Pigeon...100
Mourning Dove...2
Blue Jay...2
American Crow...5
Black-capped Chickadee...4
Tufted Titmouse...2
White-breasted Nuthatch...2
American Robin...2
Northern Mockingbird...2
European Starling...300
Cedar Waxwing...16
Dark-eyed Junco...2
Northern Cardinal...2
American Goldfinch...
House Sparrow...25

Common Flicker...1
Yellow-rumped Warbler...1

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