Monday, June 26, 2006

Pigeon Guillemot

For the first ferry ride of the trip we rushed to the loading dock with mere minutes to go on the schedule but wound up with a slight wait as the boat was delayed across the Sound. We had a few more minutes to look around.

I grabbed the film camera and headed out to the dock to see what was what. There were a few gulls, Red-breasted Mergansers, Bufflehead. Most birds were too far out in the water for any satisfying shots so I headed back.

Not far from the shoreline I heard a high-pitched call from my left coming from the water below. I leaned over and found a pair of black birds I had never seen before.

Pigeon Guillemot

Definitely a new bird for me. I was very excited to see them and realized that I only had 2 or 3 frames of film to use in the camera. Should have brought the digital, too. Oh, well. With the ferry rapidly approaching the dock I didn't have much time to get back to the car, anyway. Time to focus for one more shot.

Pigeon Guillemot

Once we got loaded on the ferry I began to look for my new bird before I could forget the details. A Guillemot! However, there were 2 species: Pigeon and Black. According to the details, the Pigeon had a definite notch in their wing patch. Mine did not seem to. Mine seemed to match the description for the Black version.

Except the book says they are only found on the Atlantic. Only reports of an overlap were up in Alaska. I still didn't want to believe it. I tried and tried to make it a special sighting but finally had to give up once I got feedback from locals when I emailed them once back home.

I had seen birds I knew were Pigeon because I could clearly see the notch. Even caught a great example at deception Pass.

Pigeon Guillemot

In the end, I had to concede the simple fact that my first birds could not have been the Black Guillemot. Still a Life Bird for us. I'll wait to steal a headline later.

No comments: