NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

January 12, 2013

Feeding frenzies draw interesting birds and interested birders

(Continued)

“They gather in furious activity. They circle and flutter, then dive into the water’s surface in a dense pack. Sometimes they float in the water and sometimes they rise up against into tight chaotic flocks, only to dive back into the unseen (by us) fish shoal. The gulls immediately draw in more interested parties; ducks and razorbills and grebes come in to crowd the water.

“This morning, these feeding frenzies were short in duration and very fluid as the ravenous birds would form and then break up and move to another location in a very unpredictable manner. Sometimes an observer is torn between just watching the spectacle and trying to pick through the turmoil in hopes of finding something new, unexpected; perhaps hot-line worthy. Tom and I saw a Bonaparte’s gull and at least two kittiwakes show up. When the frenzy moved to the horizon, we saw that several gannets joined in the fun.

“To me, just the large number of razorbills, arriving in long, fast lines, skimming in from the far ocean and either diving directly into the melee or skidding over the water before coming to a stop and diving, was a highlight of the event. When I took the time to scan the area and count the razorbills, I counted 67, which was a dramatic undercount. I am not sure why, but I find seeing a razorbill to be gratifying and to see many razorbills to be a big treat.

“Every time I set up my spotting scope in the cold early morning upon that sand-strewn platform — just as the sun is coming up out of the sea — I nurture the hope that somewhere in the depths, large fish are driving small fish and that soon the gulls and their associates will notice this drama unfolding and will come to feed. It is always an unforgettable and notable sight. Just another great moment in birding.”

---

Steve Grinley is the owner of Bird Watcher’s Supply and Gift at the Route 1 traffic circle in Newburyport and the Nature Shop at Joppa Flats.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Port Pics
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Special Features