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by Seth Benz

The 2020 autumn Sea Watch at Schoodic Point in Acadia National Park tallied 53,116 individual migrant waterbirds of 28 different species during 75 observation days.

The official count took place from September 1 through November 20. During the 75 count days, observers amassed 275 hours of effort.

The average number of birds per hour was 193.

The bulk of the Sea Watch effort was carried out by two outstanding volunteers who observed during separate months: Zeke Smith (September) and Amy Kopec (October and November). Zack Klyver, a third volunteer, filled in on a handful of days while Seth Benz, Schoodic Institute Director of Bird Ecology, stitched together the entire effort by covering one day per week. Each day’s observation period began just before sunrise and continued for at least three hours. An additional, randomly timed, two-hour stint was conducted on 31 of 75 count days. Sea Watch attracted 1,054 visitors. There were five days where environmental conditions (serious inclement weather and/or thick fog) prevented the count from taking place at all.

Sea Watch volunteer Amy Kopec
Sea Watch volunteer Zeke Smith











Most commonly seen migrants and select details

Species # of Days Observed Season Total Peak Flight Day Peak Flight Count
Double-crested Cormorant 61 21,036 Oct. 22 5,033
Common Eider 69 13,803 Oct. 23 2,548
Northern Gannet 57 3,379 Sept. 14 354
Surf Scoter 54 1,627 Oct. 10 699
Common Loon 65 1,590 Oct. 23 99
On October 22, we counted more than 5,000 double-crested cormorants from Schoodic Point. Cormorants usually fly in a flock formation, though it is somewhat loose and shifting. S. Benz photo.