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Cape Ann Bird watching Walk

Recap from December 5th


By Peter Alden Bird photos by Chuck Carney



Great Cormorant drying wings by Chuck Carney

Seven of us met at the Fisherman’s statue on the Gloucester waterfront meeting up with Peter Alden, guest leader Paul Miliotis, Spark Birding co-founder Chris Bensley and amazing bird photographer Chuck Carney of chatgeo.photos. The early winter weather could not have been more pleasant with sun, no wind and fairly warm temperatures.


Mergansers in discussion

We watched Buffleheads and rafts of Common Eiders in the still waters. At the Jodrey Fish Pier we saw 100’s of resting gulls awaiting the next unloading of the fishing fleet. At Rocky Neck we watched Red-breasted Mergansers fishing.


Buffleheads, female and male

Eastern Point in Gloucester is home to many fine waterfront estates but visitors are repelled by the Private/No Trespassing signs at the only entrance road.



There is a lighthouse at the long breakwater and an unmanned Mass. Audubon Sanctuary which allows birders to visit despite the signs.



The lot at the lighthouse provided great views of the waterfowl inside the breakwater.



One of our regular sparkbirders, Greg Clark, spotted a superb male King Eider which is a real rarity here along with many other ducks including Gadwalls. Nice to see two immature Northern Harriers fly by with long narrow wings and white rumps.



Elsewhere on Eastern Point at Niles Pond we found Hooded Merganser, Ring-necked Duck and dozens of Red-breasted Mergansers. Other stops found Common Goldeneyes and a rock offshore with Great Cormorants.



Mid-day was spent walking out to the rocky shore of Halibut Point State Reservation in Rockport. The highlight was over a dozen Harlequin Ducks at close range. These dark blue and chestnut ducks with scattered large white spots are very local each winter in New England.



Most of had lunch at the Causeway Restaurant on 113 just west of the Fisherman statue. Do join us on a future Cape Ann trip this winter!


Harlequin male duck at Halibut Point by Chuck Carney.









Thank you so much for joining us that morning. Hope you’ll join us again!

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Birds sighted with estimated numbers:


Common Loon | 7

Red-throated Loon | 2

Great Cormorant | 3

Double-crested Cormorant | 20

Great Blue Heron | 1

Mute Swan | 2

Canada Goose | 55

Mallard | 20

Am. Black Duck | 2

Gadwall | 5

Ring-necked Duck | 1

Bufflehead | 23

Common Goldeneye | 3

Long-tailed Duck | 3

Harlequin Duck | 15

Common Eider | 300

King Eider | 1

White-winged Scoter | 2

Surf Scoter | 10

Red-breasted Merganser | 100

Gooded Merganser | 3

Red-tailed Hawk | 1

Northern Harrier | 2

Great Black-backed Gull | 50

Herring Gull | 800

Ring-billed Gull | 30

Mourning Dove | 2

Rock Pigeon | 100

Blue Jay | 3

American Crow | 100

Black-capped Chickadee | 3

Tufted Titmouse | 4

Cedar Waxwing | 5

American Robin | 25

Yellow-rumped Warbler | 1

Song Sparrow | 1


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