So when up to four Thick-billed Murres appeared in Gloucester Harbor and were being reliably sighted on a daily basis with a bonus King Eider being seen regularly off Bass Rocks, I needed no additional encouragement to make the nearly 3 hour drive from home.
Arriving at Jodrey State Fish Pier shortly after 9:00 a.m. I was rewarded with excellent views of the murres, an elusive life species for me. I cannot count the number of trips over my many years of birding that were made to the New England coast with the purpose of seeing this species but only to come up short by missing it by a few hours. Well, not this time. Other harbor sightings included a hen Black Scoter, male and female Surf Scoters and Common Eiders, a Long-tailed Duck, Greater Scaup, Red-breasted Mergansers, a Common Loon, and of course Herring Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls.
|Common Eider "Atlantic" dresseri subspecies, adult male|
|Red-breasted Merganser, adult males|
|Black Scoter, female|
|Surf Scoters, left to right: mature & immature males, female|
From there it was a short drive to Bass Rocks on the Atlantic Ocean side of Gloucester and more waterfowl to be seen: Buffleheads, Common Goldeneyes, White-winged Scoters, and Red-necked Grebes. But the highlight at this relocation was the adult male King Eider positioned well off shore and almost out of binocular range but clearly identifiable with the spotting scope albeit too far to get a good photograph.
Even though my birding had to be cut short, the birds and seacoast made for a very satisfying break from late winter in Vermont.