Thursday, February 11, 2010

New England, U.S.A - Jan / Feb 2010 (3)

The only tasteful Harleys in the USA

One of several target species for the trip, wintering Harlequins are a speciality of the Rhode Island / Massachusetts coastline, with several sites particularly favoured (although by all accounts they can be something of a lottery). With 45 minutes to kill before hooking up with Laurence and Paul, Neil and I headed for Sakonnet Point (R.I) - a small bay with rocky outcrops in the south-east corner of the state (and an infuriatingly private playground of the rich, all of whom were of course absent from their multi-million dollar mock mansions).

Ignoring the offensive warning signs intended to keep out sentient human beings, we parked up and walked out along the beach, overlooking the snow-covered rocks and a gentle swell. Plenty of seaducks were feeding, and after a couple of minutes, bingo - about ten Harlequins went about their business, snoozing, making short flights, diving for molluscs, and giving unbeatable views as they climbed onto the rocks right in front of us.

A while later, and after meeting up with L & P at Sachuest reserve a short distance west, we were treated to more stunning views of at least forty birds within an impressive array of equally showy seaducks. An unforgettable beginning to five days frost-bitten and constantly rewarding birding.