Friday, February 3, 2012

A Common Seabird: Black Guillemot

 Scanning the shoreline for seabirds is common during winter.  Also common is the Black Guillemot.  Sometimes, I brave the wind and cold and the icy boardwalk to arrive at the lookout at Cape Spear.

It is my hope to see some wayward seabird that somehow got off course. I brace myself against the fence in the hope of holding my binoculars steady against the wind and peer across the sea. With the naked eye, it looks like there is nothing on the water. Binoculars change the scene.

Last Sunday morning, I looked and looked hoping to see a Black Scoter, a Common Eider, maybe even a King Eider. Are there any Dovekies still around? Nope, none of these on the radar.

What do I see? The Great Cormorant is a mainstay in this area.  I can always count on that. There is also the very predictable presence of numerous Black Guillemot.  They are pretty easy to pick out at a distance. When the size, shape and grey winter coloring doesn't give them away, it is usually the white patch on the wing that I can pick up at most any distance.

When the opportunity arises and I get a really close look at this bird, it is really amazing how pretty it is. Thank goodness for Black Guillemots and Great Cormorants or else my trek to the lookout would be all for nought.

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