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Montauk Point December 5, 2010

posted Dec 15, 2010, 3:17 PM by Arie Gilbert   [ updated Jan 11, 2011, 5:37 AM ]
    Our trip started out with a very disappointing total of three members. This turned out to be convenient in that it was easy to make a change in the itinerary. As neither I nor Jean Loscalzo had seen the Hermit Warbler that showed up at Sunken Meadow earlier in the week, we all headed over there "en route" to Montauk. Arie quickly found the bird, which we watched and photographed for a while. We went straight from there to Montauk, arriving at about the time our trip normally does, if not a little earlier.

    The weather forecast had called for high winds, which were not there on our arrival. What was there was a huge mixed flock of sea ducks and other birds!  I almost immediately announced that I had a Razorbill, which I then amended to "no, wait, I have 6 Razorbills!"  At first many of the birds were in quite close, but later moved out a bit further from land. All three scoters were present, some in very big numbers, as well as an amazing number of Common Eiders. Even Razorbills were present in large quantities - definitely over 100 total. I know I never saw so many, probably except for Machias Seal Island years ago! There were the usual loons (both species expected) along with both Gray and Harbor Seals. Another highlight was when we went over to the south-facing cliffs by Camp Hero. We had at least two Fin Whales clearly visible from shore, spotted first by Arie. There were also a couple of Snow Buntings atop the cliff, a nice surprise.

    We had our picnic lunch by the radar installation at Camp Hero. The land birding was very slow, as it has been for a number of years now. We then continued to all our usual stops. It had become quite windy so looking north from the inlet was difficult. The visit paid off though, as we had an Iceland Gull, Bonaparte's Gulls, Sanderling and a Black-bellied Plover. At Fort Pond we added both Canvasback & Redhead among others. We headed off to Shinnecock to end the day. I was hoping for an owl, but no such luck. We did add two more Iceland Gulls sitting on the jetty by the parking lot, and the final sighting was a Peregrine sitting on the phone wires along Dune Road. We proceeded to dinner at the seafood restaurant by where we turn to Shinnecock from 27A.

    We ended with a final tally of 50 species of birds and 3 sea mammals. All in all, it was a great day!