Date: 12/2/18 2:04 pm
From: Wayne Hoffman <whoffman...>
Subject: Eider - Fort Fisher sea watch
Hi - 

This afternoon, when the showers eased up I did a 1-hour seawatch at Fort Fisher, New Hanover Co., NC, from  1:15 to 2:15 PM.  I did not try to keep track of numbers of Brown Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, Laughing Gulls, or Ring-billed Gulls.  These species were all common but moving multiple directions and feeding locally.  Much of the cormorant movement was overhead, back and forth across the spit.

The highlights were the scoter movement and the eider.  i am brand new to North Carolina (just arrived from Oregon) and so I do not have much insight into what is common/normal and what is rare and/or out of season.

I began my watch next to theocean-side parking area, then relocated a short distance north to the shelter with the"Modern Greece" interpretive signs.

Common??? Eider     1               female-plumaged, flying south.  Notes below.
Black Scoter          975              southbound, flocks of 5-150, about 30% adult males; 30+ on water at shelter.
Surf Scoter               3               imm. males, on the water off shelter.
Bufflehead                8               on water off shelter.
Brown Pelican           +
DC Cormorant           +
Northern Gannet        8               with gulls and pelicans followed commercial shrimper north.
Great Black-backed Gull   1        adult
Herring Gull              15
Ring-billed Gull           +
Laughing Gull             +
Royal Tern                14            southbound
Sandwich Tern            1            southbound

Details on Eider:  This was a female-plumaged bird, Common or King, which flew by southbound by itself, fairly close.  it was all dark brown except for white axillars. I tried to take photos but they are not good (camera was more interested in focusing on the water behind it).  I will download and study them tonight, and see if I can get a better idea of which species.  I am leaning toward Common because head seemed as dark as the body, and the few winter female Kings I have seen (on west coast) had distinctly paler heads.

Wayne Hoffman
newly relocated to Wilmington

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