Scoters Galore

By Joe Behnke. Filed in Bird surveys  |   

At Iceberg last Sunday there were a lot more scoters than usual. White-winged and surf scoters foraged close to shore, and a pair of more rare black scoters flew past. Also, long rafts of Pacific loons drifted 500 m off Iceberg Point. I counted 90. I don’t remember seeing this many together before, especially this time of year. A concerted group of horned grebes with flashy white plumage dove inside the kelp zone off the monument. Off Salmon Point, gulls, cormorants, and red-breasted mergansers converged on a bait ball. Then, 4 bald eagles—two adults and two juveniles—joined the group; the bald eagles swooped on the bait with their talons. One eagle attacked a gull and fell into the water, swamped for several minutes. It finally got airborne and joined in the feeding frenzy once again. The tide was very high and wind swell washed over what was left of the lower islets, so the usual black turnstones, surfbirds, and oystercatchers were elsewhere.

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