Catching up a bit. Was hoping for 372/556 back on the 31st with the Smith’s Longspur at Bear Creek, but no bird found. Nice Short-eared and Kestrel made it worth the effort at least. With the afternoon free and halfway to the north shore, I zipped up to Gloucester. Awful sun or big crowds had me moving to Andrew’s fairly quickly. After a few minutes at the end of the driveway, I moved to the end of the road. A couple other birders were there and I overheard some muttering about puffin. A few minutes later, there was a gray-faced alcid with a bright looking bill in my scope. A bit far, took a little while to feel totally confident after the fact, but state #372. Other than one brief look a couple minutes later, it disappeared. Fortunately, the Common Murre in close at the other side was nice for all.
The following weekend was the first BBC winter pelagic. I got talked into signing up midweek and even with storms on either side, the weekend was good. The trip ran Sunday to let the seas die down and the roads to clear. Prebright and early, I drove down. After a bit of a late start (get better Ida!), we headed out on totally flat seas. It didn’t take long for lots of scoters, Long-tailed Ducks, and kittiwakes to be seen.
Razorbills started soon after.
We got further out and a few Common Murres appeared, a couple came close enough for good photos.
Along with some gannets.
We passed a trawler and got a good number of gulls including Iceland and Lesser Black-backed.
Sometime around this, what was technically bird of the day flew by: Sooty Shearwater. Distant views, but very good for the season.
As we were ready to head back, a shout of Fulmar went up. It took almost 15 minutes to chase down, but eventually we got excellent views (and apparently a second bird buzzed through as well). My target for the trip, and about the most overdue bird I had in the northeast (12th tubenose in state, after Barolo Shearwater, Black-capped Petrel, and a dozen White-faced Storm-Petrels among others).
We also had an interesting Iceland Gull around here, still debating a nominate.
On the way back, we made another stop for a puffin (poor views earlier), which helped me feel confident about the Andrews bird.
Back to shore, we stopped off Monomoy for a few minutes to take in the huge flocks of ducks (mostly eider) and the seals on the beach.
And back to the dock in time to drive home in the light. Great day.