Monday, February 1, 2016

Manasquan Inlet 2/1--Razorbill

The jetty at Manasquan Inlet, Ocean County side
A couple of winter rarities were reported yesterday while I was participating in the Pinelands Survey. I was hoping they'd stay around for Shari & me this morning. One didn't. One did. We started off the day at Monmouth Beach, hoping that the Western Grebe that had been reported there for what seems like weeks would have, as Shari said, put an anchor on its feet, and still be there for us. But I guess after 25 or 30 reports in one day, that bird was exhausted from being seen so much and moved on.

Despite the balmy weather, neither of us was in the mood for a prolonged hunt along the northern shore where there are a number of look out points as you head south. It isn't a life bird and it isn't even a state bird. Persistence is a positive quality, but not when the odds say it will just lead to ever increasing frustration. Instead, we drove south to Manasquan Inlet. As we were walking to the beach we saw a couple of birders coming back from there. "Is this going to be worth it?" I asked them.

"Oh, sure, there's lots of loons and.."

I  held up my hand, peremptorily, I'm afraid, and said, "I'm not interested in them. Did you see the Razorbill?"

"Oh yeah, its around, it keeps popping up. But it flew around to the north side of the jetty."

That elicited a groan from me. For one thing, that would make it hard to find. For another, even if we found it, the north side of the jetty is in Monmouth County. I wanted the bird for Ocean County. Shari, of course, being the rational one in the duo, wouldn't care which county it was in.

Bonaparte's Gull
We walked out to the end of jetty, meeting a couple of birders along the way, all of whom had seen the bird and all of whom told us the same wrong side of the jetty story. I was just starting to scan out that way, coming up with "lots of loons" when Shari said the one of the guys down the jetty was signally. We walked down about 100 feet and caught a very quick sight of the Razorbill, in the middle of the inlet, Ocean County side. It kept popping up, getting closer to us, even staying up for whole seconds at a time. We got good binocular looks, but all the picture I took turned out to be very nice photos of empty water. Or of a Bonaparte's Gull that was in the vicinity and was being used as a "seamark" as in, "To the left of the gull, to the right of the gull." The bird was extremely active until a trawler came up the inlet and all the birds moved out of the way. When last seen it was pretty far away, heading toward the Monmouth County line.

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