Date: 1/11/21 9:20 pm From: Alex Lamoreaux <aslamoreaux...> Subject: [NHBirds] Jan 10th Pelagic Birding Summary
Thanks to the tip-off from Zeke Cornell that January 10th would be the last outing this winter with Eastman's charters, Lauren diBiccari and I arrived at the dock at 630am Sunday morning ready to head out into the frigid wind for our first New Hampshire pelagic. We were excited to meet fellow birder Chris Duffy on board, and a boatload of fisherman seemed confused why the three of us would ever want to stand in the wind and salt-spray on the top deck just to look at seagulls... nonetheless, we set off with smiling faces.
Here's a quick summary of our trip, with links to eBird checklists/photos:
7:10am to 9:25am were spent motoring 31 miles slowly but steadily east to Jeffrey's Ledge. We passed about 4 miles south of the Isles of Shoals. The ocean conditions were rough, with choppy seas (average 4 meter swells, and a few bigger waves), and strong winds tossing spray up onto the top deck. Clear, sunny skies were a silver lining however, and we did our best scanning and started spotting Razorbill and Common Murre 9 miles from shore. Our first Dovekie were spotted 22 miles from shore, then they became abundant after 25 miles. Black-legged Kittiwakes joined the gulls behind the boat at 12 miles offshore, and we only noted adults. Four Iceland Gulls came and went behind the boat, although one 1st-winter bird with 2 missing tail feathers latched onto us early and stayed with us for literally the entire day. A 1st-winter Glaucous Gull briefly followed us around 30 miles offshore just before we reached the ledge. We spotted our first Northern Fulmar 19 miles offshore, and then another one 28 miles offshore. The majority of these pelagic sightings were technically in Maine waters. https://ebird.org/checklist/S79037634
From 9:30am to 1:10pm we covered ~11 miles up on Jeffrey's Ledge where the wave action was much more calm and the wind speed died down. We were in Maine waters (according to nearest point of land) for this entire time. We moved steadily south on the ledge and made at least 3 dedicated stops so that fisherman aboard could try for Haddock. They were very successful in catching Haddock, and notable bycatch included many Atlantic Cod, at least 5 Longhorn Sculpin, and at least 1 beautiful Acadian Redfish. Chris took some Haddock home for soup, and told me he found a juvenile Red Hake in the stomach of a Haddock. On the bird front, the only waterfowl seen were a single group of 4 female Common Eider, single group of 3 White-winged Scoter, and a lone female Long-tailed Duck. Alcids were abundant, especially Dovekie. We kept careful count and had 157 Dovekie, 31 Common Murre, 25 Razorbill, and 29 unidentified large alcid (Razorbill/Common Murre). Chris had brief views of a distant Atlantic Puffin. Around 12-15 Black-legged Kittiwake were constantly surrounding the boat, plus ~45 others were seen moving generally northward in small groups. All kittiwakes were adults. At least 6 Northern Fulmar were spotted, and all were light type. The fulmar were a mix of fresh juveniles and molting adults. Four adult Northern Gannets put on a nice show. A small group of Short-beaked Common Dolphin were seen by Chris just as we left the ledge. https://ebird.org/checklist/S79037714
From 1:15pm to 3:30pm we motored steadily west back to Hampton Inlet. For this leg of the trip we were about 6 miles south of the Isles of Shoals and solidly within New Hampshire waters. We picked up another 52 Dovekie and 5 Common Murre, but they were all further than 20 miles offshore. Thirteen Razorbill and 14 unidentified large alcid (Razorbill/Common Murre) were peppered along the entire route back. At 17 miles offshore Chris spotted 2 Atlantic Puffins! A lifer for Lauren! Both were probable adult males by bill size and color. The second bird was so engorged on fish that it was unable to fly away from the boat. At 10 miles from shore I spotted another distant puffin. Among 55 kittiwakes, we spotted our one and only juvenile of the entire day. At least 150 Herring and 80 Great Black-backed Gulls trailed behind the boat, and mixed with them were 2 Glaucous and 2 Iceland Gulls. Our final Northern Fulmar of the day was 23 miles offshore. https://ebird.org/checklist/S79038302
Entering the inlet, there was a nice collection of Harbor Seals lounging on the rocks and we again had the standard assortment of seaducks plus 1 Red-necked Grebe. Chris spotted an adult Peregrine feasting on some unfortunate bird. https://ebird.org/checklist/S79038380
Overall a really wonderful day on the sea, with some great birds and fun times! I can't wait until the boat starts going back out in March (if we are still around). Thanks to Chris for his company on board!
Dovekie 241 Common Murre 55 Razorbill 45 large Alcid sp 61 Atlantic Puffin 4