[CT Birds] Sunday Pt. Judith Cod Boat to Coxes Ledge- Interesting bird events!
kmueller at ntplx.net
kmueller at ntplx.net
Mon Aug 12 10:41:16 EDT 2013
Went on the Lady Frances cod boat yesterday from Pt. Judith, Rhode
Island. The Lady left the docks at 5:00 am and returned at 5:00 pm.
The Lady sailed for Coxes Ledge approx. 35 miles out. On the way out
the birding was excellent (including an interesting and quite unusual
sighting). However Coxes Ledge was very quiet except for one
incredible bird event (described below at the bottom of the report). I
met R I birders Carlos Pedro and Kathy Patric onboard.
The total bird sightings for the day were (approx 95%) seen on the way
out to Coxes Ledge. The approx. totals for the day: 80 Cory's
Shearwater, 40 Greater Shearwater, 3 Sooty Shearwater, and 3 Manx
Shearwater, 50 Wilson's Storm-Petrel, 2 Semi-palmated Sandpipers
(near the north edge of Coxes) and 5 Least Sandpipers (near the north
edge of Coxes). The first unusual sighting was from the pulpit of the
Lady where I was standing, I spotted 5 Storm-Petrels swimming on the
sea about 75 yards out. Swimming with the Storm-Petrels were two small
white birds which I assumed to be Phalaropes. As the Lady got closer
the birds took off. The two white birds that were swimming and I
assumed were Phalaropes took off with the Storm-Petrels and flew
directly out in front of the bow. They turned out to be a pair of
Least Sandpipers!! Also seen: 50 Common Tern (most near shore), 1
unidentified Tern (possibly a Roseate), 1 Black Tern (near the Galilee
wall on the return trip) and one large unidentified Tern (offshore at
Coxes). 5 Laughing Gulls, 7 D-c Cormorants off shore, and 5 Gulls off
shore....they were basically vacant offshore.
The second and most incredible birding event happened at Coxes Ledge
at noon. The three of us were standing on the upper deck when I
spotted a medium sized songbird flying towards the vessel from the
North. (A minute earlier two small to medium sized passerines flew by
the vessel and Carlos identified them as Cowbirds). Carlos picked up
the bird as it approached the vessel, and he couldn't believe what he
was looking at. He said it twice as a first winter YELLOW-HEADED
BLACKBIRD flew around the vessel three times and then landed on the
awning railing just over our heads. The exhausted bird stayed with us
for over five hours alternating from the awning bars to the railings
to the deck of the upper deck and later to the roof of the wheelhouse
to rest out of the wind behind the life rafts. The bird also spent a
few hours with us on the deck of the upper deck feeding on our
offerings of cracker crumbs, crushed nuts and water (from Kathy's
bottled water). The bird was very cooperative feeding and drinking and
often would often chase a small fly or moth on the deck. Many times
the bird settled near our feet or a few feet away from us.
It eventually flew up onto the wheelhouse to rest where it stayed all
the ride in to port. We thought it would fly off when it saw Block
Island but it didn't, staying longer until we were inside the
breakwaters of Pt. Judith. When we were inside the Harbor of Refuge
it flew off towards the marshes of Galilee. What a wonderful experience!
If you are interested the cod fishing was very slow.
I will have mant pictures posted on my blog in a few days!
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