Happy New Year at the Tortugas! Sooties, Skimmers, and More!

To all Dry Tortugas birders,

I wish you a happy new year and apologize you haven’t heard from me this year.

I’m happy to announce that Sunday, January 27th, marked the arrival of the first sooty terns of the season, and today was my first glimpse of the flock (~200 birds). The terns have not landed on Bush Key yet, and probably won’t for several more weeks, but they were circling in formation several hundred yards off-shore, and calling constantly throughout the day.

No sign yet of the brown noddies, but we may not have much longer to wait, since the spring season seems to be a few weeks ahead of schedule.

Other terns at DRTO include scores of royal terns, several sandwich terns, and a 25-30 bird flock of black skimmers. All three species can be seen perching on the south pilings.


Other regulars at the Park include a willet and whimbrel that hang out together, a lone kestrel, and plenty of palm and yellow-rumped warblers.

Also, not in the Park itself, but I did see two adult pomarine jaegers flying alongside the boat on the return to Key West. They were sighted east of the Marquesas Keys, in the Northwest Channel.

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