Monday, April 23, 2007

Great Weather. If You're a Gannet!

Well, that was a long couple of days. But typical of my forays into camping trips.

A strong front was moving in and the winds at Jetty Park picked up significantly after we arrived. By noon they were clocking 25 mph with higher gusts making the tent set-up...interesting. We were situated on a higher point next to the Jetty Park canal where the ships move in and out of the area and the wind seemed to be focused right at that point.

By night they continued but we managed to get a fire going for some smores just as the light rain were dragged along for the party. We spent the night in an on and off sleep as the tent shook in random bursts until morning. The next night was more of the same minus the rain.

Ah, camping.

The only birds who seemed to enjoy the weather were the pelicans and the Northern Gannets. I had hoped that the high winds might push some other birds on shore but there were not even any traces of warblers and very few gulls. Resident Turnstones hugged the jetty but other than that I had to settle for a family of Mockingbirds and a flock of Cedar Waxwings.

At least I would manage to get my best Gannet shots up until now. I rarely get out into the ocean anymore so they are still a seldom seen bird for me. The last time I had a really good look at a Gannet was when we had one get hooked on our trolling lures nearly 20 years ago.

That is a whole different story but wass the first time I ever actually held a bird. Who would have guessed I would do so regularly at this point in life during banding? Not me.

Over the course of the next two days I saw many Gannets feeding just inside the canal and every now and then I could get the camera to auto-focus on one. They moved so fast with the strong winds.

Northern Gannet

That adult was often cruising the shoreline but there were also birds in every plumage variation along the way. Like this in-between version.

Northern Gannet

Joining the throng were a lot of juvenille birds.

Northern Gannet

I guess some pictures of seldom seen birds was better than nothing. Maybe the winds provided that so I shouldn't be too upset. Would have liked to have had more little birds on their way North, though.

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