Unusual sea-duck spotted at DRTO!

One of the most exciting birds I’ve seen at the Tortugas all year is the arrival of a female black scoter yesterday. This is a species of completely oceanic duck that only sees land to breed. A lone female hung around the harbor all day yesterday. I managed to get a nice shot of her as she swam past the boat.

My first sighting of a female black scoter at the Park!

The whimbrel has decided to join the willet back at the fort, which was nice to see.

The whimbrel has arrived. This photo was taken on the dinghy beach on the south side of the island.

I also managed a nice comparison shot of several royal terns, a sandwich tern, and the little Forster’s tern, all of which were perched on the same piling. One banded royal tern was just trying to land on the same piling, and scared off the lone sandwich tern.

Left to right: sandwich tern, three royal terns, and the tiny little Forster's tern on the right. Note the band on the left leg of the landing royal tern.

Happy Thanksgiving and happy birding!

–Chelsea B.

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