Thursday, February 4, 2010


Pacific Loon - adult with male White-winged Scoter, Race Point, Provincetown, MA. February 3rd, 2010. Series of distant digi-scoped images taken from atop the dunes at Race Point, about 3/4 mile West of Race Point parking lot. The bird was swimming East and only observed for a short time (12:47hrs - 12:53hrs), and this despite frequent scanning of the ocean especially on the walk out to the point. Some fifty or so Red-throated Loons close-by provided useful comparisons, as did a handful of Common Loons.

Nick Bonomo and I spent most of the day on Outer Cape Cod enjoying a walk out to Race Point and then checking multiple spots in the Provincetown and North Truro areas. The walk to and from Race Point was highlighted by an adult Pacific Loon, detected by Nick on our return walk from the point. Despite frequent scans on the way out, we missed this one completely until we returned but it was also fascinating to see that Red-throated Loon numbers had increased on our return visit as well. Parties of up to a dozen Red-throats were scattered up to a quarter mile off-shore, totally at least 50 birds. Common Loons were far fewer. There was no strong alcid show, despite an nice NE wind but by careful scanning we found about 5 Common Murres and enjoyed a good prolonged fly-by view of Thick-billed Murre. Gulling proved to be frustrating with most flocks rather skittish, and we watched in awe as two trawlers came in off the ocean being followed by hundreds, perhaps thousands of gulls. However, Kumlien's Gulls proved to be frequent throughout the day numbering about 25 birds, most of them adult. An adult Glaucous Gull (my first adult of the winter) was at Race Point, and we later relocated the same bird at Pilgrim Lake. The latter location also held a nice assortment of Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Greater and Lesser Scaups.

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