Thursday, February 23, 2012

Razorbills and other alcids continue

Razorbills continue to be seen in Long Island Sound since December sparked a massive influx of the species in our waters. Yesterday I saw at least four of them off Stratford Point, with one only about 20-30 feet off the revetment wall at times! I got some great views but...the problem with photographing and viewing Razorbills is that they surface in a different location from where they dive, and when they finally do come up, it is only for a few seconds at a time. I literally had three to five seconds to point, zoom, focus, and shoot my camera at a bird surfacing at a spot tens of feet from where it went under, and I could not do so. Dang.

I finally zoomed the camera out and took a wide shot when it came up producing this so-so photo. It is cropped from a very large size, but it gives you a sense of what they look like on relatively calm water.

They were seen regularly at Stratford Point the last three months, mostly if one was there early enough with a scope and a bit of perseverance. Occasionally they would be close enough for good views even with binoculars, but this was the closest pass for me. They somewhat slowed down in sightings in late January through early February, but picked up again just as quickly in the last week or two. Our friend Frank Mantlik spotted at least 25 (!) of them off Long Beach in Stratford, and last week Neil Currie and Tom Hook spotted two Common Murres there!

If you have not seen one head down to the shore before this event finally ends. Be on the lookout for the other alcid species, too. If you see anything from Milford Point or Stratford Point, we would love to know about it.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

Photo © Scott Kruitbosch

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