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:

In the harbor an adult (Glockenspiel) and 1st-winter Glaucous Gull were
mixed with the Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls.

Heading out the inlet we noted the usual seaducks and Common Loons.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Black-legged Kittiwake 123
Iceland Gull 7
Glaucous Gull 2+

Northern Fulmar 9
Northern Gannet 6

Good birding, -Alex Lamoreaux

Alex Lamoreaux
Senior Leader/North America Specialist for Wildside Nature Tours

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