Early July is not typically a time of high diversity, but we usually see decent numbers of the regular birds and it’s often better than August for Leach’s Storm-Petrel. The odds for Leach’s go up with onshore winds and that’s what we had last week. After a short stop to look at some Atlantic Spotted Dolphin on Friday morning, we ran right out to the deep and within minutes we had seen our first Leach’s. The wind was light on Friday, but that didn’t prevent the storm-petrels from finding our slick. It took a little while for them to gather, but we had great looks at all three species feeding together, and it was one of the best July trips ever for Leach’s (pictured below with a Great Shearwater).
Shearwaters were in low numbers, but we got the expected four taxa, counting Scopoli’s (photo by Kate Sutherland).
Perhaps the southerly winds on Thursday and Friday brought us some Sooty Terns (photo by Kate Sutherland).
I would like to thank Kate Sutherland and Jeff Lemons for their help leading these trips.
Species List for July 6 / 7
Fea's Petrel 0 / 1
Black-capped Petrel 23-24 / 22
Cory's Shearwater 5 / 6
Scopoli's Shearwater 2 / 4
Cory's type 12 / 14
Great Shearwater 11 / 20-25
Manx Shearwater 0 / 3
Audubon's Shearwater 8 / 7
Wilson's Storm-Petrel 50-60 / 110
Leach's Storm-Petrel 21-25 / 23
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel 13 / 11
Leach's / Band-rumped sp 9 / 0
Sooty Tern 3 / 0
Sooty / Bridled Tern sp 2 / 2
Common Tern 0 / 1
Bottlenose Dolphin (offshore type) 35-40 / 20
Atlantic Spotted Dolphin 12 / 0
Gervais Beaked Whale 2 / 0
Loggerhead Turtle 1 / 0
All photos today are by Brian & Kate - it was nice for Brian to get out there and take some pictures this weekend! Following is a nice collection from the two days! -Kate
A couple more Fea's Petrel images, top by me and bottom by Brian
Most of the Black-cappeds we saw were molting like this individual (K Sutherland)
A nice Atlantic Cory's above by Brian with a Scopoli's below (K Sutherland)
The Great Shearwaters were much more attentive to the slick on Saturday, sometimes they were too close for photos!
Leach's Storm-Petrels definitely stole the show! They were around in good numbers and made some incredibly close passes on both trips. These birds were in varying states of wear, some even had square looking tails due to their tail feathers being so worn down! A nice comparison of a Leach's (bottom) and Wilson's Storm-Petrel. And another photo of the Leach's we had feeding on the chum at the end of the trip on Saturday! What a treat (for it and for us!!)!
Most of the Band-rumpeds we saw were not nearly as cooperative as the Leach's, but we did have some nice views each day. (K Sutherland)
Our Common Tern flew around in the rain with us for a bit, then took a rest up on the bow!
We did not see any Gervais Beaked Whales all spring, but we had two on Friday! It was nice to see them! They were a bit far for photos, but captured a few images of them, so here is one where you can see both individuals.
We had a very playful pod of offshore Bottlenose Dolphins on Friday! We spent some time with them hoping their activity might attract something different like a tropicbird, but nothing turned up.
To finish it off a couple of flyingfish pictures. These two trips were like night and day, you can see how calm the water was on Friday! On Saturday these fish were really catching some air in the stiff breeze, not the easiest conditions for flyingfish photography! Top is a purple bandwing and pictured below is a smurf, the generic name for some of the very small, brilliant blue individuals we encounter out there.