Sunday, December 30, 2007

Hoaries and more on Cape Ann, MA - December 30th

Hoary Redpoll (left) with Common Redpoll.

Hoary Redpoll (left) with Common Redpoll.

Hoary Redpoll - the darker of two individuals present.

Hoary Redpoll - right of two Common Redpolls.

Hoary Redpoll - the highest bird in this group of Common Redpolls.

Common Redpoll - fairly large bird with obscured Hoary Redpoll rear left.

Scott Surner and I drove from Amherst to spend most of the day at Cape Ann primarily focused on finding the previously reported Slaty-backed Gull. After a short visit to Inner Gloucester Harbor we spent nearly all our time at Niles Pond on Eastern Point checking through the gulls. In the middle of the afternoon we a detected a small redpoll flock feeding on the dike between Niles Pond and Brace Cove and found a Hoary Redpoll immediately. The flock was somewhat skittish choosing to feed in a spot where they received much disturbance (dog walkers etc). However, patience rewarded us (along with Phil Brown and many other birders) with good views of at least two Hoary Redpolls and about 25 Common Redpolls. Very sweet indeed! NB. I have more Hoary Redpoll references from the 2003/04 influx into New Hampshire on my website.

Although the
Slaty-backed never materialized, we enjoyed some superb gull watching logging c.20 Kumlien's Iceland, 5+ Glaucous, 2 Lesser Black-backed and 2 Bonaparte's Gulls, as well as what may well turn out to be a second-cycle Thayer's Gull found at Niles Pond late in the afternoon. These along with a Dovekie in the Inner Harbor, Black Guillemot, the regular wintering Eared Grebe, Purple Sandpipers and a host of seaducks wrapped up a really excellent day on the East Coast.

make a separate post about the gulls, including the Thayer's, soon.



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