Saturday, November 10, 2012

Nantucket Lapwings

BACK TO NANTUCKET…..for the second time in three weeks I found myself back on this quint New England Island. The first trip was for the Gray-tailed Tattler that had been found during the Nantucket Bird Festival. There are just a handful of records for the lower forty eight, and to my knowledge none on the east coast. So with Alan Richards and Ian Davies we headed down to Hyannis to make the trip across the sound to Nantucket. There were over seventy birders looking for the Tattler, but to everyone’s disappointed the bird never made an appearance.

Fast forward…..Hurricane Sandy hits the East Coast and three Northern Lapwings show up along the Massachusetts Coast. One of the Lapwings was found in Eastham and the other two on Nantucket. The Eastham bird was only seen one day, but the Nantucket Lapwings were lingering!

James Smith emailed me late in the week and expressed serious interest in making the trip out to the Island; of course my arm really didn’t need a whole lot of twisting. So after several emails to James and Vernon Laux out on Nantucket (Lapwing updates) - we departed at 4:45am for the Fast Ferry out of Hyannis. If you’ve never taken the Fast Ferry to Nantucket, it’s quite nice and yes…It’s “FAST”. (One hour)  We arrived around 9:00am and were met by Vern Laux and Trish  Pastuszak. They took James, myself and a couple of other birders who had also contacted Vern the night before out to Hummock Pond where the Lapwings awaited.

After we got the Lapwings, we were the guests for Vern and Trish for the rest of our stay. They took us around the Island along with others in tow and we really had a great diversity from birds for November 3rd in New England.

Photos and checklist below.

Nantucket, Nantucket, US-MA
Nov 3, 2012 9:15 AM - 3:15 PM

73 species

Brant 42
Canada Goose 200
Mute Swan 62
Eurasian Wigeon 2 2-females
American Wigeon 48
American Black Duck 12
Mallard X
Blue-winged Teal 2
Northern Pintail 2
Green-winged Teal 1
Bufflehead 10
Hooded Merganser 2
Red-breasted Merganser 4
Ruddy Duck 4
Common Loon 1
Pied-billed Grebe 2
Double-crested Cormorant 150
Brown Pelican 2 1-at the Nantucket Landfill. Capture and brought to rehab center on the Cape. #2- Seen over Nantucket Harbor while waiting to board ferry. Photos of both.
American Bittern 1
Great Blue Heron 4
Turkey Vulture 3
Northern Harrier 4
Sharp-shinned Hawk 5
Red-tailed Hawk 3
Common Gallinule 2 Hummock Pond
American Coot 40
Northern Lapwing 2 Mega- continuing at Hummock Pond.
Black-bellied Plover 3
American Oystercatcher 3
Greater Yellowlegs 15
Ruddy Turnstone 20
Dunlin 15
Laughing Gull 2
Ring-billed Gull 4
Herring Gull 300
Lesser Black-backed Gull 5
Great Black-backed Gull 25
Rock Pigeon 190
Mourning Dove 5
Chimney Swift 1 Very late - seen from the ferry just before docking. Clearly a Chaetura Swift and most likely a Chimney, but all we could get distant views.
Belted Kingfisher 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 2
Northern Flicker 2
Western Kingbird 1 Seen at Pat's Puddle-photos.
Blue Jay 4
American Crow 8
Tree Swallow 250 Largest group around Hummock Pond
Black-capped Chickadee 2
Red-breasted Nuthatch 12
Brown Creeper 1
Carolina Wren 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet 6
American Robin 45
Gray Catbird 1
European Starling X
American Pipit 8
Cedar Waxwing 12
Lapland Longspur 1
Northern Parula 2 Photos
Black-throated Blue Warbler 1 female
Yellow-rumped Warbler 30
Savannah Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 4
White-throated Sparrow 2
White-crowned Sparrow 1
Dark-eyed Junco 4
Northern Cardinal 1
Red-winged Blackbird 2
House Finch 12
White-winged Crossbill 12 Seen and heard around Jackson Pt.
Pine Siskin 18
American Goldfinch 2
House Sparrow X

One of two Northern Lapwings at Hummock Pond, Nantucket. Distance made  photography tough-as one can see by these photos.

Northern Lapwings- In flight over Hummock Pond. Striking birds when in flight!

Brown Pelican-Imm. Prior to our visit, there had been four Brown Pelicans reported on the Island,  undoubtedly  from Hurricane Sandy. While watching the Lapwings, Vern gets a call about a Pelican hanging out at the Nantucket Ladfill!  It was obvious that this bird was in trouble and plans were in the making to capture it?

The plan was to offer the Pelican a fish, Red Snapper to be precise. Then grab the bird and  bring it to a rehab center on the mainland.

The bird takes the bait......

We observed the Pelican having trouble swallowing the fish, which I don't think it ever did.

You can see the snapper in the birds pouch. The pelican was captured and brought to a rehab center on the Cape.  Early reports the Pelican will be ok......but I'd like to know where the bird was banded? 

Northern Parula- A nice November bird.

Lesser Black-backed Gull- one of six birds along the beach. This area of Nantucket can sometimes  muster up close to one hundred individuals at the right time of year. 

Western Kingbird -  A nice surprise at an area known as Pat's Puddle. The  underparts on this bird were pretty bright.

A Selasphorus Hummingbird (Rufous/Allens) coming to a private residence on the Island. It's been  a pretty decent fall for hummers....There are at least 4 Rufous and 1 Allen's in New England.

Brown Pelican- 2nd pelican of the day! Seen coming into the harbor as we waited to board the ferry.

Brown Pelican-settled in at the dock as we departed Nantucket Harbor.

White-winged Scoters - The trip to and from the Island was filled with all three species of Scoters.

Black Scoters

Surf Scoters - Thousands can be seen from the ferry this time of year.