Sunday, December 10, 2006

Black Guillemot

On this day in 1929, C. Eliot Underdown spotted a Black Guillemot at the long jetty north of Cape May Harbor. The guillemot flew in from the northeast and landed in the water on the lee side of the jetty. Here it dove several times as Underdown viewed it from within 20 feet. The bird was in the expected mottled grayish winter plumage that makes the Black Guillemot's name an apparent misnomer at times.

Black Guillemot is the least common of the alcids that visit NJ waters in the winter. There are 12 state records to date, with most coming from Monmouth and Ocean Counties. There are three records for Cape May County, however. There is also an inland record from Boonton Reservoir in Morris County. The vast majority have been one-day wonders, but just last winter NJ birders were lucky enough to have a guillemot that lingered for over a month from early December 2005 to January of this year.

Underdown, C. Eliot. 1930. Black Guillemot (Cepphus grylle) at Cape May, N. J. Auk 47:242. PDF here

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