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A very interesting day at the Barnegat Bay Lighthouse State Park once again on March 4, 2013. There were the usual Gulls with some Red-throated Loons and the ever popular Harlequins. On this particualr day though, I saw a Razorbill and the high flying, high speed, diving Northern Gannet.

Northern Gannets are larger than Gulls and can plunge into the water from up to 130 feet in the air at roughly 62MPH to about 20 feet below the water then swimming to almost 50 feet below to catch fish. They hit the water like a high speed missile and you have to keep a watchful eye on their every move or you will miss them diving. The Gannets have a special air sac that protects them from the high speed impact when hitting the water. It is very interesting watching these birds dive and if you get a chance to see them, you won’t be disappointed.

The Razorbill is another diving bird but doesn’t plunge into the water like the Gannets. It usually floats on the surface and then dives to depths of 60 feet or more for fish. It reminds me of a Penguin with similar shape and colors except the Razorbill has a larger shaped head. The Razorbill stayed pretty far so sorry for the bad pics of it but it was a very cool bird that I was very happy to have seen.

There was also a little Harbor Seal that swam by at the end of the jetty. It surfaced once then disappeared. I kept watch for it to see if it would return but I guess seeing my ugly mug once was enough for it 🙂

Besides the usual feathery friends, a bird of a different color flew by, a bright international orange USCG HH-65C helo passed overhead. It was close enough to give me a shave and a haircut. Not really but it was pretty cool having it fly directly overhead.

On to the pics.

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7 thoughts on “High Dive Act

  1. great shots as always Terence…the orange bird is cool, as is the seal…but I particularly love the last shot…the simplicity, but the way you set the shot up, with the Lighthouse in the background is fabulous!

    • Thanks again Heather! Always a pleasure reading your comments. The helo was very cool and is a regular visitor by the bay but not always so close. I was hoping the seal would come back but it just passed by without even looking back. I liked the driftwood on the beach with the lighthouse in the background so it inspired me to snap the photo. I like the natural look of the driftwood on the sand. It’s a bit overexposed but it was a really bright sunny day. I should have tried a higher f-stop.

    • Thanks Robert! I am just an enthusiast/hobbyist. I actually got started birding just this past December/January. It was sort of unplanned as I was visiting the lighthouse area just for the lighthouse then I saw the Harlequins and that got me started. The Harlequins are winter visitors to the lighthouse and were there the day I visited and so it began hahaha! I also had a lot of birds in the tree on my front lawn so I added a feeder to attract more.

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