Sunday, February 3, 2013

Cape Ann Birding Boat Trip

Cape Ann hosted their winter birding weekend, and the grand finale was a 4 hour boat trip from Gloucester Harbor to Stellwagon Bank on board The Privateer IV.   Everyone thought I was certifiably crazy to go on a winter boat ride (didn't I know how cold it'd be out on the ocean?), but it was worth it!  In spite of wearing lots of layers, it was so cold and snowy and windy and.... did I say cold ...that I was still cold!!!!!   Next time, I would buy the new long underwear and wear ski pants or some type of wind-breaker pants.  I would also bring an extra pair of gloves because my mittens got wet in the snow.  Oh, I did use hand warmers for the first time (thanks to Deb B for giving me an extra pair!)  I would use those again for sure!

Looking back at Gloucester as we headed out of the harbor (and saying good-bye to the best weather the day had to offer!).

Surf Scoters

Common Loon

Harbor Seal

Great Cormorant - a life bird!!!

Hammond Castle

Some people are out in cold weather all winter, not just for a half-day boat ride!

Dovekies - life bird!

Northern Gannet - life bird (and my favorite bird of the day)

Northern Gannet - in flight

When we finally arrived at Stellwagon Bank, the winds picked up, and it was quite choppy.  We weren't seeing too many birds, and then the captain announced the sighting of a single Atlantic Puffin at 9:00 on the port side.  He slowed the boat down and turned toward it so that everyone could have a chance to see it, but it was so rocky and choppy and the deck was slippery and I nearly fell a couple of times trying to get over there.  In the process, my camera and binoculars tangled together and then the bird dove and disappeared!  I saw it from the back, but no photo and no view of its head!  Better luck next time!

Black-Legged Kittiwake - a life bird!!

I'm including this photo because it will give you all a good idea of just how cold and snowy it was!  The wind was picking up, and it was getting choppy so the captain suggested a change of course and we headed back for the last hour along the coast, just off of Manchester by the Sea.  The coastline is lined with private houses, so there isn't an opportunity to bird south of Gloucester, unless you are in a boat.  By this time, I was pretty cold so I stayed inside during this portion of the ride.

On the way back to the coast, someone was "chumming" off the back of the boat to attract gulls and other birds.  At times it was quite a variety and it was neat to have such close views but I felt a bit conflicted about the use of bait to attract them.

2nd winter Herring Gull Ring-Billed Gull
(thank you, Alan, for the correction!)

Great Black-Backed Gull

Herring Gull

Some of the smaller private waterfront case you're looking for a weekend getaway.

And coming back into Gloucester again....knowing we'd soon be warm!

The old Paint Manufactory

These seals looked like they were kissing - just touching noses.

Iceland Gull - 2nd winter - a life bird!!!

Common Eider (male)

Common Eider and three Red Breasted Mergansers

Common Eider (female)


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