Belmar Pelagic 3 Feb results
Date: Sun Feb 3 2013 19:53 pm
From: myiarchus16 AT yahoo.com
Paul Guris, Bob Fogg, Linda Mack, and I led an "inshore pelagic" today out of Belmar (Shark River Inlet) to the Mud Hole and other underwater features off Monmouth County. We had excellent conditions despite cold temperatures, with overcast skies for objective lighting and calm seas. Alcids are always the main target on these trips, and we tallied the following:
57 Razorbills- including several cooperative birds at close range for good viewing and photography
7 Dovekies- mostly flybys, but at least one that some folks saw on the water at close range
12 Common Murres- several seen quite well, including a duo comprised of a classic winter-plumaged bird next to another actively molting into breeding plumage with a sooty-gray/black head. They even stayed topside for an extended period of time.
We found a massive gull flock that was attracted to what appeared to be a botched commercial fishing operation (we guessed that the net broke, releasing a large number of stunned Herring and Striped Bass); the gulls were having a field day feeding, along with a few Razorbills and gannets with bellies too stuffed to even move much as we approached. The larid flock contained at least 5 Iceland Gulls (3 adults, 1 first-cycle, 1 second-cycle), a hulking adult(!) Glaucous Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (third-cycle & second-cycle), and an adult Black-legged Kittiwake. We also found two gulls which defied quick or easy identification: one was a very dark-mantled bird otherwise resembling an adult Herring Gull and the second was an immature white-winged gull that straddled the ID criteria between a small female Glaucous Gull or a large male Iceland Gull. I hope some photos of this white gull will be posted on-line soon.
Marine mammals recorded were about 24 Common Dolphins- several of which made quick passes by the bow, a Harbor Sea, and 2-3 whale sp. (just a bit too far and too quick of looks to ID).
On the way back to port we found a Red-necked Grebe under the Ocean Ave bridge at Shark River, and yet another Iceland Gull (first-cycle) on the mudflats just east of Rte 35.
Thanks to all who braved a cold winter's day to join us for some good seabirding.
Full list follows.
See Life Paulagics leader
All Things Birds Program Director
New Jersey Audubon
White-winged Scoter- 13
Red-breasted Merganser- 9
Common Loon- 19
Red-throated Loon- 2
Red-necked Grebe- 1
Northern Gannet- 87
Bonaparte's Gull- 11
Herring Gull- x
Iceland Gull- 6
Lesser Black-backed Gull- 2
Glaucous Gull- 1
Great Black-backed Gull- x
Black-legged Kittiwake- 1
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