Staten Island circumnavigation, 7/16/05 - launching from & landing at Pier 63 in Manhattan. 50 miles, 14 hours, a long trip and a good one. Part 1 is the southbound half, from Pier 63, down the east and southeast shores of Staten Island, to our lunch break at Ward Point at the southernmost tip of Staten Island.
With the beaches so deserted, we saw a lot of birds. These are double-crested cormorants. These birds are fishing birds, great divers (an ability which will come in very handy for one that I watch having an encounter an osprey later in the day) - unlike most waterfowl, their feathers aren't waterproof and so after they fish, they'll sit on pilings with their wings spread to dry out (as the third cormorant from the right is demonstrating).
In addition to these birds, and the usual gulls and terns, I saw a pair of egrets, a black skimmer actually skimming (flying with open beak so low over the water that the lower mandible - which is twice as long as the upper one - is cutting through the surface of the water - I'd read about this but to actually see it was amazing), and a glimpse of what I think was a Great Blue Heron (landing at the Shooter's Island Harbor Heron Rookery near the Bayonne Bridge).