Date: 11/5/17 1:48 pm
From: Ned Brinkley via va-bird <va-bird...>
Subject: Re: [Va-bird] Jaeger show in Chesapeake Bay
Yesterday's count of 24 and today's count of 37 put us over the 100-jaeger
mark for the five-week period, with 99 Parasitic, 5 Pomarine, 1
Long-tailed, 9 unidentified. Most of the unidentified were believed to be
Parasitic based on proportions and often behavior (chasing Laughing Gulls
doggedly), with one exception, a bird that looked heavier and broad-winged,
more like a Pomarine.

I think different groups were out counting in Virginia Beach today, but I
heard one report of 22 jaegers, to add to 63 from yesterday (no Dovekie
today but a nicely photographed Black-legged Kittiwake was there).

At Cape Charles, seeing 5 Parasitics in one scope field was a definite
highlight. The weekend produced first-of-season Long-tailed Duck, Tundra
Swan, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-throated Loon. We have not seen here the
massive flight of Black Scoters that Virginia Beach is seeing, mostly still
Surf Scoters in the Bay. No records yet this season here of Horned Grebe,
Red-necked Grebe, eiders, Harlequin Duck, Purple Sandpiper, Snow Goose,
Canvasback, Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, alcids, or rarer winter
gulls. Some of these are scarce at Cape Charles proper, though Purple
Sandpipers winter here; watching the Bay is a good way to intercept many
species of migrating waterbirds, especially those that don't winter here
because proper habitat is unavailable (Canvasback, Common Merganser,
Northern Pintail, etc.). A few Greater Scaup have been among the regular
Lesser Scaup flocks, as well as a few Redhead. These "bay ducks" can be
difficult species to find in Northampton County much of the time.

Ned Brinkley
Cape Charles, Va.

On Fri, Nov 3, 2017 at 2:56 PM, Ned Brinkley <23cahow...> wrote:

> Over the past month, almost 50 Parasitic Jaegers have been noted from the
> Cape Charles/Kiptopeke area over the Chesapeake Bay. Most have been
> traveling southward at a rapid clip but not far from shore. On occasion,
> they stop to harass gulls or terns for a fish, providing a nice aerial show
> for a bit. Yesterday, 8 Parasitics passed Cape Charles, and today, 15
> Parasitics, 1 juvenile Long-tailed (extremely late and thought to be rare
> here), and 1 unidentified were logged between 7 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Surely,
> many more were missed, as they tended to move through the area in just a
> minute or so.
> These numbers are quite small compared to Atlantic coastal sites this
> fall, some of which have reported record-high counts of Parasitic Jaegers
> (in some places, 30+ in view at once). But for little-studied Chesapeake
> Bay, these numbers are unprecedented. Normally, to record a few in the fall
> in hundreds of hours of patient watching is lucky here. Perhaps this was a
> very good breeding year for jaegers; or perhaps the baitfish are still in
> the Bay (water temps still in the high 60s F). Many terns were also on the
> move southward today (mostly Royal; a few Forster's, Sandwich, 1 very late
> Common).
> For those going birding on the coast this weekend, a scope is ideal to
> enjoy (and be able to identify) jaegers. Most field guides to North
> American birds do not do the three species justice, as they show incredible
> variation in plumages, but several guides to European birds do, and there
> are specialty books as well. I would think that any vantage from a
> shoreline could produce a jaeger sighting in the first few hours of light.
> Normally, jaegers are attracted to groups of feeding gulls and terns, but
> most of today's birds were flying strongly southward, mostly very close to
> the surface of the water.
> Ned Brinkley
> Cape Charles, Va.
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