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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Paul Guris

January 2, 2004 (Saturday)
Pelagic Christmas Count


See Life Paulagics trip ran a Christmas Bird Count out of Belmar on Friday, January 2. The trip was just 8 hours long, shorter than our normal 11 hour trips. Skies were overcast, but we managed to dodge the rain except for a few sprinkles in the morning. The winds were blowing a reasonable 10-15 knots, and the seas were 2'-3'.

The highlights of the trip were very good looks at a Common Murre and an Atlantic Puffin. The murre was well within sight of land, and the Puffin was just 17 miles out. Other highlights included flyby Razorbills, a pod of Common Dolphins that rode our wake for a while, and Kittiwakes including a gorgeous adult that decided to strafe the boat for nearly an hour. Interestingly, it had somewhat limited black in the wingtips, the same as the bird that harassed us on the December 13 trip. I'll be interested in comparing photos. Could it be the same demented bird?

Trip List

28 Common Loon
8 Red-throated Loon
4 loon sp.
223 Northern Gannet
49 Black Scoter
5 Surf Scoter
2 White-winged Scoter
21 scoter sp.
90 Bonaparte's Gull
605 Herring Gull
530 Great Black-backed Gull
9 Black-legged Kittiwake
1 Common Murre
4 Razorbill
3 large alcid sp.
1 Atlantic Puffin

19 Common Dolphin
1 whale sp.