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Ocean City Inlet: Little Gull, Razorbill, Harlequin Ducks






Sun, 11 Mar 2007 00:46:11 -0500


Jeff Gordon here, writing from Liz's computer.

Liz, Bill Stewart, Derek Stoner, and I were birding somewhere in the  
vast uncharted lands north of Fenwick Island this morning when we  
decided to run down to Ocean City to look for Harlequin Ducks. We had  
very little time, but decided that it wouldn't take too long to check  
the fishing pier, so we went for it.

As advertised, there were 2 male Harlequins right by the pier, and we  
enjoyed watching them surfing amongst the pilings. The only downside  
was that they were incredibly diligent about keeping within the shade  
of the pier. They'd tease us by swimming within a few inches of  
total, brilliant illumination, only to change course and remain in  

Knowing it wasn't really wise considering our time constraints, I  
asked if everyone wanted to take a quick look at the mouth of the  
inlet. I offered to swing back to the parking lot and move the car,  
meeting the rest who would walk down the beach.

I reached the jetty before they did--I never did ask what took them  
so long--and pointed my scope toward the ocean. Somewhat amazingly,  
the very first bird I glassed was a second-cycle Little Gull, beating  
its way into the sun. I concentrated on staying on it, despite the  
difficult lighting and increasing distance, while I nervously waited  
for my friends to rejoin me. The gull eventually sat down on the  
water, and I said a little prayer that it would stay there.

Bill reached me and asked if I, "had anything." I was about to say,  
"Why, yes, Bill, I have spotted a Little Gull," (or words to that  
effect) when I was momentarily struck dumb by the sight of none other  
than a Razorbill floating by, its black and white bulk nearly  
colliding with the diminutive larid.

"I have a Little Gull AND a Razorbill!," I sputtered. I'll spare you  
his coarse rejoinder, but it could roughly be translated as, "I doubt  
the veracity of your extravagant claims, and believe that you are in  
fact playing me for a fool."

But I was vindicated, as the gull lifted into the air and foraged up  
and down the tide rips, giving us very satisfying scope views. The  
Razorbill was not as cooperative, but Bill and Derek got decent looks  
before it buzzed off to the south. Liz chose to follow the Little  
Gull, and the alcid was nowhere to be found by the time she finally  
broke her focus.

Looking at our watches, we discovered that we were now, really,  
truly, irretrievably late (Liz & me--Bill & Derek were innocent) for  
our family engagement later that afternoon. But it was an awfully  
nice 30 minutes of birding.



Jeff & Liz Gordon
Lewes, DE

Liz's blog:
Jeff's blog: