This afternoon, 11/05, the wind was still ripping along our coast. I headed down to Canaveral National Seashore on the north end, south of New Smyrna Beach to Parking area #4. The wind was running 25 knots or more as I set up my station. I got everything ready, cleaned off my lens and settled down looking through the scope. A Laughing Gull went by, then another, then the third bird -- Yikes -- a Sabine's Gull!! I grabbed the camera, but the bird had already zipped by. I did get a great look through the scope; it was a 1st cycle Sabine's Gull. Such a great bird and this after only about 10 seconds of looking. The birds were going by furiously, huge flocks of Scoters -- hundreds in each flock, gannets, jaegers, gulls and terns. In one flock of jaegers, I found a very small pale-bellied one with a completely whitish head - a 1st winter Long-tailed Jaeger.

I began at about 2:20 p.m. and about 4:00 p.m. Gary Davis showed up. The show continued and more and more flocks of scoters went by until an immense flock of what must have been 1,000 Black Scoters came by, the flock stretched for about 1/2 mile! More and more kept coming until nearly sunset. After one huge flock flew past, Gary said here comes another little flock and I looked and three ducks came flying just off the beach. I yelled "Old Squaws!!" (being "Old School" they will always be Old Squaws to me) -- they were three Long-tailed Ducks. 

We had counted 2,400 Black Scoters and then several more large flocks came overhead and flew inland to settle for the night in Mosquito lagoon. There must have been another 500-700 birds in those flocks. Altogether we must have had 3,000 Black Scoters! Amazingly, we did not find a single Surf or White-winged Scoter. 

Black Scoter 3,000
Lesser Scaup 60
Green-winged Teal 4
American Wigeon 20
Long-tailed Duck 3
Pomarine Jaeger 100
Long-tailed Jaeger 1
Jaeger Sp. 100
Cory's Shearwater 2
Sabine's Gull 1

This all bodes well for an exciting pelagic trip scheduled for Nov. 16!

It was an amazing day! In addition, I stopped off at Sugar Mill gardens in Port Orange for a few minutes and was very surprised to find a late Blue-winged Warbler. I have never seen one here nearly this late before. 


Michael Brothers
Marine Science Center
Ponce Inlet, FL

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