Ft. Clinch State Park: Santa delivered a male Harlequin Duck to the park
fishing pier this morning.  Ca mid-morning on a flooding tide, the adult
male was observed foraging on the pier pilings at about the  half way point
of the long structure. Later, it worked back toward the end and was last
observed resting on the inlet surface a couple hundred meters to the east of
the tip.  Also observed off the pier were small nos. of Black Scoter and
Red-breasted Merganser. A lone male Surf Scoter lingered briefly, until
flushing and flying north over the inlet. 


Upon our departure down the pier a pale blue, wedge-shaped, object was
observed hurtling low over the inlet and rushing toward the beach.  The blue
bullet shot over the pier and rocks and was into the roosting larid flock in
the blink of an eye.  As the panicked gulls and terns evacuated the beach,
the peregrine passed through them seeking a favored quarry but finding none
gave up its hunt and turned inland. In recent weeks, a freshly killed Black
Skimmer carcass has been noted on the high beach near the roost site every
few days. This morning no BLSK were amongst the resting larids. Typically in
winter, the large wintering flocks of BLSK shift their roosting site to
Fernandina's main beach where they find refuge from the hunting peregrine
but experience more frequent disturbance by humans and pets. The lesser of
two evils so to speak.  See Flickr link for images of the HADU.




Pat and Doris Leary

Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, Nassau County


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