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gpoole

help with today's beach birds in Nova Scotia. Thanks

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I don’t have much experience with winter murres, and am wondering why Common over Thick-billed? Seems to have a very compact structure/neck? Is it the facial pattern? Not doubting, just curious. 

 

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Facial pattern is diagnostic, Thick-billed don't show the white behind the eye in any plumage. Structure isn't too helpful here, I think the bird is either feeding or just hunkered down, so it looks like it has a chunkier head.

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Bill is too thin for Thick-billed, long thin and straight. Thick-billed has a shorter, heavier and more down-curved bill. Thick-billed has a darker face.

@blackburnian I used to live in Massachusetts, I may be able to suggest some places to go. Plum Island / Salisbury Beach is a good area for Snowy Owls, Lapland Longspurs, Snow Buntings, Northern Shrikes. Cape Ann is rockier and is good for Iceland and Glaucous Gulls, Harlequin Ducks, Purple Sandpiper, Red-necked Grebe, Black Guillemot, etc. I suggest Jodrey State Fish Pier for gulls, Pigeon Cove/Cathedral Rock for Purple Sandpipers and Harlequin Ducks. Halibut Point State Park is a traditional seawatch site, you could get some cool stuff from there. With luck, it is possible to see King Eiders on Cape Ann, Bass Rocks in Gloucester was fairly reliable back when I lived there though that may have changed. As for Thick-billed Murres, one of the most reliable spots for them is the Provincetown harbor - Macmillan Wharf. They are often relatively close to shore, but are pretty uncommon.

Edited by AlexHenry
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@AlexHenry

Thanks. I’ll probably check most of those areas out. Have been to Race Point again, and will certainly go back in the coming days. Very few lifers are possible but am hoping for King Eider, Dovekie, Thick-billed Murre, along with the more common Tree Sparrow and Northern Shrike. Will be spending the next couple days looking for the rare geese/Tufted Duck before moving to the coast. 

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15 hours ago, AlexHenry said:

PS a Thick-billed Murre is at MacMillan Wharf in Provincetown right now, if you get a chance you should go check out the Provinctown and Race Point area.

https://ebird.org/checklist/S63707386

I had 3 Thick-billed Murres at Race Point this morning, and at MacMillan Warf 2 Black Guillemots, 1 Dovekie, and 10! Thick-billed Murres. 3 of them flew over our heads standing on the dock. 

2500 Razorbills at Race.

https://ebird.org/checklist/S63764110

https://ebird.org/checklist/S63764357

https://ebird.org/checklist/S63764211

Edited by akiley
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I highly recommend Jodrey State Fish Pier in Gloucester for gulls and Pigeon Cove / Cathedral Rock in Rockport for Purple Sandpiper, Red-necked Grebe, Harlequin Duck. Cape Ann in general is great for winter birding and I feel it gets less attention than Cape Cod or the Plum Island area. 

@akiley looks like some pretty outstanding birding. Makes me miss living in MA!

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