Is it a bird, is it a plane or is it something else?
From the initial description I said it was probably a merganser but something didn’t add up. And the description “like a crow with a flaming orange bill” was a dead giveaway. They are moving from the shorelines to the offshore islands for breeding and nesting at this time of year and really are interesting bird to watch.
They feed on a variety of mollusks using their powerful bills to pry open oysters, clams and mussels. Their nesting habits are really curious. A simple depression and camouflaged eggs makes them really hard to spot, even for experts.
The Audobon SocietyÂ has more information and has this bird on its watch list. Its sensitivity to oil spills in particular make it vulnerable. People wandering around its nesting sites is also very dangerous.