American Birding Podcast



#ABArare – Hurricane Sandy report 2

Simply put, Hurricane Sandy brought a lot of birds to a lot of places. Pomarine Jaegers seemed to be everywhere. Leach's Storm-Petrels and Red Phalaropes were widespread (and a few of both species ended up as food for Peregrine Falcons and gulls; this Leach's got away, this one did not). Since there were so many reports today, I can only do a quick rundown of what was seen state by state, and I'm sure some have slipped between the cracks. Also note that I'm focusing mostly on the "traditional" hurricane birds — pelagic birds blown in with the storm. Besides these species, there were tons (perhaps literally?) of waterfowl, notably Brant, and scattered reports of Cave Swallows throughout the region affected by the hurricane and strong frontal system. [For the most part, I do not mention birds here that were already covered in Report 1.]



Being far east of the where the storm made landfall, it's not surprising that there were relatively few reports of storm birds from these two states. Coastal birding in New Hampshire was a bust except for two Laughing Gulls, but inland observers found a Leach's Storm-Petrel at Lake Massabesic. It met an untimely end at the bill of a Herring Gull. Birders in Maine had Great and Cory's shearwaters, Pomarine Jaegers, two Laughing Gulls, and single Dovekies at two locations.



A Magnificent Frigatebird was first found by Geoff Dennis at Little Compton, RI (photos here). Then there was a report of one at South Dartmouth, MA. These locations are about 10 miles apart, so presumably it's the same bird. There was a probable Sooty Tern and two Sabine's Gulls at Wachusetts Reservoir. A few grounded birds were found: a Dovekie was discovered in Salisbury Beach while a Leach's Storm-Petrel was in Newburyport. An Atlantic Puffin was seen flying out of the Merrimack River



There's a good wrap-up of Connecticut sightings (on Massbird!) here. The most notable sighting not included in the first Hurricane Sandy report is a Bridled Tern at Fairfield.



Notable amongst widespread reports of Pomarine Jaegers and Leach's Storm-Petrels, several Wilson's Storm-Petrels were seen at several locations. Also, there was an unidentified shearwater on the Hudson River. Further south along the river on Manhattan's upper west side, an American Oystercatcher was seen. An unidentified Tropicbird was seen briefly at Gravesend Bay in Brooklyn.



The bonanza wasn't confined to the U.S. Ontario birders had Black-legged Kittiwakes (including 88 at Hamilton), Red Phalaropes, Pomarine, Parasitic, and Long-tailed jaegers. But scoring higher on the rarity scale were Leach's Storm-Petrels at at least two locations (only the 4th and 5th records for the province), Wilson's Storm-Petrel at Hamilton, Sabine's Gull at the mouth of Lake Huron, and a Razorbill at Whitby.



Much of the what was found in PA was covered in the first report, but reports of Pomarine Jaegers and Red Phalaropes continued throughout the day. Notable birds not mentioned in the first report include a Northern Gannet on the Susquehanna River at West Fairview, reportedly the seventh record for the state and two American Oystercatchers flying down the Delaware River at Philadelphia. Also on the river were a Sooty Tern and Sabine's Gull.



Many of the species seen on the Delaware River from PA not surprisingly were also seen from the NJ side. Elsewhere, there were reports of Cory's Shearwaters from the Delaware Bay shore and Cape May, Band-rumped Storm-Petrel(s?) at Cape May, and an immature Red-billed Tropicbird that was taken to a rehabber (photo here). It was found at Carney's Point, NJ, which if I'm not mistaken, is near Wilmington, DE.



Reports from later on Oct 30 included a Sandwich Tern at Delaware City, Leach's and Wilson's storm-petrels north of Delaware City, and Northern Gannet on Delaware Bay.



There was a good showing of hurricane birds, primarily along the Susquehanna River. Pomarine and Parasitic jaegers, Red and Red-necked phalaropes, Northern Gannet, three Black Skimmers were all reported. There were also several Leach's Storm-Petrels just above Conowingo Dam.



Not many positive reports from coastal areas. Ned Brinkley reports just three jaegers (one Pomarine and two unidentified) and one South Polar Skua from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.