Thursday, July 15, 2010

Manx Shearwater in the Bay!

Today Anthony Graves and myself headed out into Moriches Bay, leaving from the Carmans river, to check out "Tern Island".  When we got near the mouth of the Forge river, about 1/4 mile East of the William Floyd Estate, Anthony spotted something unusual bobbing in the water.  We headed over and sure enough it was a real anomaly for interior waters - a Manx Shearwater.  I had never seen a tubenose before (aside from during my jaunts around the Caribbean) and Anthony narrowed the ID down to an Audubon's or Manx.  Angus Wilson was the first to provide me with the true ID, Manx.  This is based on the curve of white feathers behind the eye and the white vent feathers.  Anthony and I were concerned that the bird was injured (why else would it be so far from the open ocean?) but when I approached with a net it quickly took flight and headed north toward the river.  If anyone is boating in the area, keep your eyes peeled.  I apologize for the poor quality of the image below - but the boat was moving and so was the bird and the lighting did me no favors.

When we arrived at Tern Island it was a real ghost town - not one Tern was seen on the island (just a few flying overhead).  We noted many eggs, some broken, some whole, some with a little yolk on the inside and wondered what had gone on here.  An e-mail to Shai Mitra confirmed what we hoped - that the birds had fledged (last week).  A trip to the closest island to the west where Terns had been seen nesting bolstered this opinion as there were no Terns seen but some eggshells were found.  Another "new" species for me was abundant at this island, the Seaside Sparrow.  I had once previously photographed a Sharp-tailed Saltmarsh Sparrow but never got a chance to get this species that doesn't spend a lot of time out in the open.  I'm glad I found one that wanted to comply.

And another:

Showing off it's favored habitat:

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post! Nice pics. A couple of days ago I went on a birdwatching cruise off the MA coast. Someone saw a Manx Shearwater, but it was so small, it was gone before I new what direction to look.