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
Liz's blog: www.elizabird.com
Jeff's blog: www.jeffgyr.com