These photos are from two recent trips to Cape Ann (Gloucester and Rockport MA) I made in the past week. The first was with a regular birding companion. It was a cloudy morning and we just beat the rainstorm that started around noon. There was a lot to see despite the gloomy conditions. Red-breasted Mergansers were at every stop we made along the coast in Gloucester.
Harlequin Ducks are usually swimming and diving in the surf but a few took a break on some rocks away from the swells.
This Eider didn’t mind being in the swells breaking right below us on the bluff.
Purple Sandpipers didn’t mind dodging the spray either.
There were some fresh water ducks close to the shore, including this Mallard in flight and a Gadwall .
Since all good stories involve pirates I must add some to this report. These two Eiders are sadly watching their well earned “treasure” sail away after a gull snatched it as they surfaced from their dive. One of the gulls had to deal with another piratical bird…Crows.
We returned to Cape Ann about a week later to join a Massachusetts Audubon group. (All Covid-19 precautions were in force: no more than 10 participants, masks, distancing, etc.) There were high clouds but very little wind, a welcome change from the usual blustery conditions on the coast this time of year. The highlight was a Razorbill that swam close to shore. These birds, which are related to Puffins, are normally far out to sea. Their legs are far back on their bodies, as you can see in the photo. This means that they cannot take flight if they end up on land for any reason.
There was also a flock of Brant. They are the smaller, more genteel cousins of Canada Geese.
A Great Black-backed Gull was very vocal about protecting whatever it was that he had foraged and was trying to eat. Size matters in the pirate world and these are the largest gulls in the world.
I almost missed this Peregrine Falcon as it flew across the point. He doesn’t look happy about being photographed.