Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Northern Gannets coming by

Last Thursday, March 8, the Connecticut coast was being whipped by winds and waves ahead of the coastal system that was failing to provide much precipitation yet. Sustained winds on the immediate coast were easily over 30MPH and gusts were pushing into the 40s. With temperatures in the upper 30s it was a very frigid day. I was moving through a waterfowl survey at Stratford Point rather quickly because of this and because of the fact there were very low numbers of waterfowl in the survey zone with whitecaps filling Long Island Sound. I did enjoy seeing a couple of Bonaparte's Gulls among the typical Herring and Ring-billed Gulls feeding in the Stratford Point cove.

As we pass through March we typically begin to see an uptick of Northern Gannets at Stratford Point. In the fall we usually have them often in beginning in November and continuing into December, with sightings dropping in January and February, and then picking up again right about now. These kind of large low pressure systems and powerful winds help to push them closer to the coast as well. In this case one bird came right by the edge of the bluff providing great looks for myself and Anthony who joined me momentarily at just the right time. Carrying my equipment with my camera slung over my shoulder as usual in case of some extreme rarity I was not prepared to take any shots, but here are a couple I managed to snap off while being pushed over by the wind.

At least you can actually see the bird in these crops instead of only the water as I managed to take a few of the waves only. If you stop by Stratford Point to look for some search everywhere - occasionally one passes by very close, some are often found to the east closer to shore, while others are miles out in the open water only viewable by scope.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

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

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