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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Paul Guris

December 31, 2004 (Friday)
Pelagic Christmas Count

Report
See Life Paulagics ran a pelagic CBC out of Belmar. The day was quite a success. While we had no real rarities, we did manage to see over 130 alcids. Most were Razorbills, including several sitting on the water at very close quarters. Two sat in our chum slick less than 100' from the boat. We also managed to find 9 Dovekies, including a bird sitting on the water within 30-40 yards of the boat.

Another nice show was given by the Kittiwakes. The birds were very cooperative, coming into the chum and very close to the boat, often flying a short distance right over our heads. The sad part was that we only saw 1 immature bird. Over 100 Bonaparte's Gulls were also seen. The only other noteworthy gull was an adult Iceland seen very well. Once again, we missed Lesser Black-backed. We had a brief and flying away Northern Fulmar, but unfortunately it never came back to investigate our slick.

The counts below are split between the transect we did for the CBC and the birds seen inshore of where we started the transect. Note that due to the shorter day, we did not spend much time in New York waters, but still managed to get Kittiwakes, Razorbills, and a Dovekie for New York.

Common Dolphins rounded out the trip.

Species
Inshore
CBC
Total
Common Loon
19
11
30
Red-throated Loon 
3
1
4
Northern Fulmar
-
1
1
Northern Gannet
20
179
199
Surf Scoter
40
27
67
White-winged Scoter
12
-
12
Black Scoter
1
-
1
dark winged scoter
995
25
1020
Long-tailed Duck
4
1
5
Bonaparte's Gull
5
96
101
Herring Gull
X
400
X
Iceland Gull
-
1
1
Great Black-backed Gull
X
150
X
Black-legged Kittiwake
1
33
34
Dovekie
0
9
9
Razorbill
41
45
86
large alcid sp.
19
19
38
Common Dolphin
-
-
50


We'd like to thank everybody who participated in today's count, and to remind people that we're trying a special inshore alcid search on January 29. That trip will be just 6 hours long, and will probably spend the entire day within sight of land. We should find Razorbills, and we hope to find murres or (if we're really lucky!) a Black Guillemot. Contact us if you are interested in joining us.