Friday, December 16, 2011

Razorbill flight and a Common Eider

A strange event took place in Long Island Sound yesterday as tens of Razorbills, perhaps more, flew through heading to the west. They were seen throughout the morning and afternoon at several locations on the Connecticut coast. They are almost a regular sight at Hammonasset State Park right now. A flight like this along with increased reports of the species in the past few years leads one to suspect something has changed as they are very rare here otherwise. The most common theory is that they are coming in to the Sound much more often because of an increase in their prey, small fish. Perhaps we will be able to piece it together in coming years.

I had actually seen a single Razorbill flying west from Stratford Point a few weeks ago on November 22. Yesterday, Charlie Barnard found a couple of Razorbills swimming around off Stratford Point early in the morning, though they headed off to the southwest relatively quickly. I spent an hour or so seawatching and tallied six more, all flying right by to the west. While I was scoping the Sound I found another rare bird that is increasingly reported, a Common Eider. This female flew in directly in front of me, just east of the lighthouse, and swam around with a few American Black Ducks for a while.

It seems Stratford Point is only going to be more active for species such as these in the immediate future, so keep them in mind if you visit us, and please tell us if you see them or anything even more rare.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

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