Day 11 of the spring run saw us once more heading out into the deep blue waters of the Gulf Stream, today under partly cloudy skies with a freshening southwest breeze. Our transit out to the shelf break completed, we slowed down and started to chum. Almost the first bird to visit the chum slick was a cracking Fea’s Petrel that made several close passes for everyone to see well.There are still limitations to what we can know, even with decent images. (Fea’s Petrel is often now split as Cape Verde Petrel and Desertas Petrel, not known to be distinguishable from each other in the field except for breeding season, and the related wing molt timing). Wow, what a way to start the birding!
Then Black-capped Petrels started to show, coming and going throughout the day with nice views of both black-faced and white-faced types, likely comprising two cryptic species (photo by Ed Corey).
Large shearwaters were thinly spread today, but both Great and Cory’s were seen. More noteworthy, loose weedlines of golden Sargassum were plentiful, linked to which were good numbers of Audubon’s Shearwaters, providing excellent views and our highest count of the spring so far.
(Thanks to everyone who joined us out there today! And thank you to Steve NG Howell & Ed Corey for helping us lead the trip and contributing to the blog post!! -Kate)
Species List for June 2, 2018
Fea's Petrel 1
Black-capped Petrel 30
Cory's Shearwater 14
Great Shearwater 5
Audubon's Shearwater 76
Wilson's Storm-Petrel 58-63
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel 8-10
skua sp. 1 (likely South Polar, but never got very close!)
Laughing Gull 1
Portuguese Man of War 1
Another Fea's Petrel image by Ed Corey - the fresh Fea's Petrel - but which species?
Black-capped Petrel - but which species?
Black-capped Petrel - you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube!
Some of the Audubon's Shearwaters that showed throughout the day
Portuguese Man of War by Ed Corey