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.