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I made the drive through rush hour traffic this morning
to search for pelagics blown in by Irene. I arrived at 
Huguenot around 0740 and ventured out to the beach.
This was one hour after high tide but the storm surge 
was still sending water through the beach access road.
I scanned the ocean for about 30 minutes and saw 
nothing but foraging Royal Terns. I returned to the
lagoon to wait for the tide to recede. Just before a band
of heavy rain came through a flock of about 40 Sooty 
Terns came in from the south or southwest (the river).
As the band hit with strong wind gusts the Sootys 
seemed to more or less hold their own while a flock
of Black Terns trying to cross the lagoon were repeatedly
blown backwards. That is, the birds weren't blown in
a different direction but rather were facing one way but
going the other. As the rain let up I saw a flock of six
ducks flying around near the north point. All I can say is
I'm certain they were not Mergansers or Scoters of any
kind. I've never seen the local muddled ducks fly more
than a few yards.

Around 0900 I was able to get down to the jetty and
drive across. While there were many gulls and terns
out on the sand flats there was a small group right
at the edge of the dunes near the volleyball net posts.
Most were juvenile Laughing Gulls plus some birds I
at first assumed were Willets. When I put the binocs on
them I realized they were Hudsonian Godwits...eight of
them. I was able to get close enough to get some 
decent shots but the light was less than optimal. Go to
the website at the bottom of the page, go to the 
"Shorebirds" gallery. The first picture on page 4 has
been adjusted for brightness and contrast but not
color. The two shots on page 5 are unedited except
for sharpening and resizing. I believe these are the
first Hudsonians I've seen since 4 breeding-plumaged 
birds at Zellwood in 1980.

The Sooty Terns were the only pelagic species I saw.
I saw nothing over the ocean that in any way resembled
Shearwaters, Jaegers etc. I kept looking up for Frigatebirds
as well. All the usual suspects were present in the park. Of
interest were 16 distinctly un-Solitary Sandpipers, 2 Marbled
Godwits and one "Great White" Heron, all in the lagoon.
About a dozen Lesser Black-backs and half as many Greats.
There were also at least 5 Reddish Egrets - 4 adults and
1 immature. On the way out I saw six Roseate Spoonbills over
by Ft George Is.

A check of Ocean Pond on the way home produced no gulls,
terns or the hoped for Frigatebird.

Bob Richter
Baker County


http://www.pbase.com/Bob_Richter

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