23 July 2015

Summering Black-legged Kittiwakes in Provincetown

Unprecedented numbers of Black-legged Kittiwakes - all first summer individuals - have been summering on the northern-most point of the Cape Cod peninsula. I had the opportunity to spend some "quality" time with a group of no less than 24 birds at Race Point Beach last weekend in Barnstable County, Massachusetts. All photographs taken here were on 18-19 July 2015.

Most upperwing coverts molted, bills have turned mostly yellow and the hind-neck collar is all but non-existent.

Left bird showing some brown spotting on the lesser upperwing coverts and more black to the bill tip.

Two right outer tail feathers and p9-p10 retained. Note the darker upperparts when compared to the 2nd generation primaries.

Outermost tail feather retained on both sides. Only p10 retained. S1-S4 renewed.

The individual standing front-left has a very white head and neck, almost 2nd summer like, but it is indeed still holding on to first basic outermost primaries. This is simply an advanced first summer bird with no earmuffs or gray neck. See the next 2 photos.

The brown, juevenile, wing coverts are exposed here but notice how much of this is covered at rest.
Two individuals with a single first summer Bonaparte's and Laughing g

This last bird was my favorite of all, standing with a firm and typical kittiwake posture. But what good is a Black-legged Kittiwake photo without the legs showing?!

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