Showing posts from November, 2012

9 Nov 2012 - First Encounter Beach

Last Friday I took an early morning (more like late night) ride to Cape Cod, Massachusetts with Andy Griswold and Phil Rusch. Our destination was First Encounter Beach in Eastham, a site well-known for seabird watching under specific conditions. On prolonged NE winds, seabirds are pushed from the open Atlantic Ocean into Cape Cod Bay, particularly during late autumn when birds are migrating south in big numbers. On the heels of a nor'easter, like the one that affected the area on 7-8 Nov, winds usually turn out of the NW as the low pressure system moves away. When this happens, those seabirds that were pushed into Cape Cod Bay are directed to the southeastern corner of the bay as they work their way back toward open ocean. This is where First Encounter Beach is located, and it is these NW winds that can make for an outstanding flight of seabirds as a nor'easter exits the region. the location of First Encounter Beach as indicated by the arrow The setup for Friday was qui

Hammonasset Beach SP - Crossbills, Pelicans

I spent a few midday hours at Hammonasset Beach State Park today in hopes of encountering some interesting passerines. Overall numbers were surprisingly low, but there were some nice birds to be had. First, a mixed flock of 11 Snow Buntings and 14 Horned Larks were feeding on the lawn by the nature center. Snow Buntings I really wanted to get to the west end to, at a bare minimum, check out the stand of pines for crossbills. But that end of the park was still closed, temporarily being used as a utility company equipment staging area. The entrance was guarded by police but I was able to sneak in through the dunes to access the pine stand. After some waiting a chattering flock of 12 WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS flew into the pines to feed. White-winged Crossbills What happened next was rather lucky. The flock of crossbills took flight and circled overhead. As I was watching them through binoculars, I caught a glimpse of three white specks far in the background. I let the

10/29-10/31 Sandy

Monday, October 29, 2012 My Sandy birding began early on this day, when Jake Musser and I met Glenn Williams around 7:30am at Avery Point in Groton, CT. At this time, winds were 25-30mph out of the NNE with gusts only slightly higher. Hurricane Sandy, boasting maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, was well south of Rhode Island at the time. The day started rather uneventfully, with local birds kicking around in the form of a few scoters, Forster's Terns, Bonaparte's Gulls, and many Laughing Gulls. Other than LAGU numbers being higher than usual for the date, there were no signs of storm-blown birds early. As the day wore on, the winds increased, particularly after noon as Sandy moved north and then began her bend northwestward. That day, each National Hurricane Center advisory showed Sandy only intensifying as she approached. First 75 mph, then 85 mph, finally peaking at 90 mph - a strong Category 1 storm. As her winds picked up, her central pressure dropped to levels even mor