Monday, September 5, 2011

Time for Jaegers and other Seabirds


Another strong northerly wind on the weekend!  Hope this trend continues unlike previous years.
When a strong north wind is "predicted" (does not always come true) in the fall I always head up to Point Edward on Lake Huron, at least on weekends.  Today was perfect.  It is early in the season and not a lot is moving, but some jaegers decided to fly.  Forecast was for 30 K winds, but it got close to 40 K.
After an hour and three quarters of sitting I finally spotted a group of three jaegers coming from the east.  It was nice to see one was an adult.  Two of them circled close right overhead as they sometimes do there.  Others followed.
Below is a copy of my posting to Ontbirds:

About 07:45 a group of 3 jaegers appeared just offshore from the east.  All
appeared to be Parasitic.  Two were intermediate morph juveniles with one
being a fine adult.  One juvie broke away and headed up the US shoreline,
while the other two headed overland at Sarnia just after passing close
About ten minutes later, I noticed an adult heading up the US shoreline (not
sure if it was another bird or not).

A short while later I spotted a jaeger fairly distant that was likely a
juvenile Long-tailed.  It came from the east and headed up the US shoreline.

About 10:35, a very dark juvie appeared very close to shore from the east.
Paul D. Pratt also spotted this one. It continued up the US shoreline.

Other birds of note included two Osprey and a group of 4 Red-necked

Weather was miserable (lots of rain) but that is when it is good.

Impossible to take photographs in poor light, gale force winds and birds that were dipsy doodling all over!

This week strong NE winds are predicted all along, so more should show up.  However, who is going to look?  Some of us have a job to go to!


  1. Blake,

    Your jaeger photos look like Long-tailed, at least based on the tail shape. Maybe Brandon Holden can chime in with his opinion.


  2. The tail is more typical of Long-tailed Jaeger, yet Parasitic can show virtually the exact same pattern. I've never been a fan of tail shape as an ID feature. Too hard to see in real life, and variable in photos!

    See here for a PAJA with the same shape tail:

    Sounds like an awesome day Blake!


  3. Brandon,
    I could have been wrong, but the birds struck me as Parasitic right from the start, especially based on underwing pattern. The two juv looked virtually identical out over the water but obviously I could not have a good look at tail and retrices there. The one juv and the adult that went right overhead I had good looks. The adult was most decidedly Parasitic. One does not have much time to study them while they move quickly! I wish more people would show up on these days!