“A Heatwave, a Tropical Heatwave”

On Tuesday, finally, my friend Doug and I went out birding for the first time this year. Compared to the freezing temperatures that we have had recently, it was balmy with the temperatures starting out at 33° and headed up to 40°. Starting out there was no wind, and it was comfortable, however, finishing up around 10:30 AM the wind had started to pick up in the wind chill increased. We visited Plymouth Mass where most of Jenny pond was frozen with a few open spots, and there were the usual waterfowl including the first sighting of hooded mergansers this year. The snow cover was probably only 2-3 inches compared to the 17″ at my house

Pair of Hooded Merganser – Lophodytes cucullatus

Next location we visited was Plymouth Harbor behind East Bay Grill. The harbor was frozen. We did sight a first winter Iceland Gull.

Iceland Gull – Larus glaucoides 1st winter plumage
Iceland Gull – Larus glaucoides 1st winter plumage

Our next two stops were Nelson Park and Cordage Park. At Nelson Park, most of the birds were out in the open water at a distance due to low tide. At Cordage Park, besides the mallards, mute swans and Canada geese, there was another pair of hooded mergansers.

Pair of hooded merganser along with an adult ring-billed gull and a first winter ring-billed gull

We then stopped on by Plymouth Rock and found an area of open water with the town Brook enters into the harbor. Red-breasted Mergansers were bathing and creating huge splashes.

Red-breasted Merganser taking a bath and creating a large splash

We did a brief visit at the beginning of the town beach, but couldn’t drive down because of the vast number of rocks and boulders. The town public works were trying to straighten out the damage from the storm.

A final stop was Manomet Point, the seals were sunning themselves on the rocks, and a few of the boulders were ice covered. We did not find any harlequin ducks at our visit. The most exciting sighting was a seal breaching as it swam through the water. I did not get any images of this activity since I had left my camera in the car just to go over and observe to see if anything was worth photographing.

Harbor seals sunning on the rockweed covered rock
Ice covered boulder

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