Sunday, March 21, 2010

Barnegat Inlet, March 21st

Overcoming some inherent sloth I headed for Barnegat Inlet on the morning of March 21st. Getting there at a slightly tardy 8am I still managed to be only the second one out on the breakwater in relatively balmy conditions with a moderate breeze from the south.....and found just the usual suspects on the falling tide.

There appeared to be a diminishing number of sea ducks although this could just be day to day variation. While the numbers of Long-tailed Ducks were high, and engaged in mating displays in tightly-knitted flocks, I only saw two scoters (a pair of Black Scoter) and a few Common Eiders. Harlequin Ducks were present in moderate numbers. The bird(s) of the day were three Northern Gannets headed south off the end of the breakwater. Other birds included Dunlin, Black-bellied Plover, Common Loon and a single Red-throated Loon, Brant, one Red-breasted Merganser and an Ipswich-like Savannah Sparrow.

All of the Common Loons I saw were in pre-alternate molt, with one apparently already in full alternate (breeding) plumage. Some Long-tailed Duck were in pre-alternate molt although most still seemed at or close to basic plumage and I didn't see any obvious full alternate plumages. Looks like it will be soon, however.

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