Sunday, February 03, 2008

February 3 - Montauk Point and Dune Road

What a banner day today was. A friend and I came out to Montauk Point and were rewarded for the long drive with fantastic weather, calm ocean, and fine views of seabirds.
Among the tens of thousands of birds here are the most White-Winged Scoters that anyone in the metro area can see. The other scoters of Black and Surf were also well represented. We were able to get nice looks at over a dozen Razorbills.

We were not able to positively locate any other alcids, however we did enjoy close views of the thousand or so Common Eider, in all variations of age and plumage. On the drive west from Montauk Point we stopped at Edgemere Ave and scanned the ocean once again. This time my friend spotted a beautifully-plumaged full adult male King Eider !

I have been hoping to see the drake King Eider for many years now, and finally seeing this bird brought a huge smile to my face. While scoping the one bird, I spotted yet another full adult male King Eider mixed in with the females, and both sexes of the Common Eider.
We watched these birds at fairly close range for about 30 minutes, enjoying the bird feeding and preening, opening it's unusual bill, and doing some courtship rituals.

A truly spectacular sighting today.

Before leaving the Montauk area we stopped at Hither Hills park and found the Pink-Footed Goose, as well as, the Barnacle Goose. We also saw Brant, Canada Goose and Snow Goose.

Later along Dune Road, near the Ponqougue Bridge we located the Snowy Owl that has been present here for a couple of weeks.

Also seen were a pair of American Bitterns, Boat-Tailed Grackles, Long-Tailed Ducks and Red-Breasted Mergansers.

One last view of the scene typical of Montauk in winter:

click on all images to enlarge