Sunday, December 30, 2012

Razorbills continued

In the previous post I wrote about the Razorbill incursion into Long Island Sound again this year on the heels of sizable and significant increases by the species throughout our part of the Atlantic waters. As they have moved in to feed and rest in the Sound they have moved south all the way to the Gulf Coast as well. For the most part sightings of Razorbills are well offshore beyond our cameras, but occasionally one can come in close enough for a shot. The best views you are going to have of alcids is likely in a boat, but from Stratford Point you can get some nice looks with a scope. Here are some digiscoped photos I took using my iPhone of birds visiting us in December.

Here's a photo I took with my regular camera zoomed all the way in of a few birds offshore. Can you spot them?

The more obvious and closest individual is in the lower left, but if you take a look at the upper right you will see two more together. All of these birds were diving for food, presumably fish, as the prey was swallowed immediately.

Razorbills are notorious for being incredibly adept swimmers while underwater. If you think of a Common Loon diving for food and surfacing a short time after you will in all likelihood think of watching the spot where it went down and then finding the bird nearly at the same location when it comes back up. Razorbills are tricky because of that talent of theirs as they will go down then surface, after what seems like an eternity, at a spot tens of feet away. Sometimes they end up a couple hundred feet from where they were originally. When they're actively diving for fish it is almost impossible to even raise your binoculars to get a decent look at them, let alone take a photo. I have had individuals doing precisely this while swimming in the low tide zone of Stratford Point, preventing me from taking what would have been some sensational shots. They remind me of the Whac-A-Mole game at amusement parks...

Anyway...I'll keep trying for better photos, but please feel free to send me any awesome ones you take and I will put them up.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

Photos by Scott Kruitbosch © Connecticut Audubon Society and not to be reproduced without explicit CAS permission

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