Not even thirty minutes later there was more shouting, this time a young Red-billed Tropicbird (first summer) was with us! That sighting coincided with our arrival at the shelf break and we slowed soon after to see what else we could turn up. There were flocks of mostly Cory's type Shearwaters feeding on fish out there Saturday thanks to the slack current and we were able to run to get among these birds quite easily most of the day. This worked in our favor since the first flock, indicated to us by the Sooty Terns flying high above, held another Masked Booby, this one looked to be a first summer individual (photo by Brian Patteson).
As we sorted through the hundreds of shearwaters for something different, another tropicbird flew in to check out the activity! This one turned out to be a young White-tailed Tropicbird (photo by Kate Sutherland)!
A short time after we began heading offshore once again, one of our participants happened to look up and find another White-tailed Tropicbird looking back at her! This bird looked more adult-like, though it may not have been a full adult quite yet. It spent a lot of time hovering over the boat and checking out the slick, though it did not splash down for any food. (photo by Kate Sutherland)
A short time after this bird disappeared from sight, a tropicbird was spotted on the water...photos reveal that it was the same individual we had just seen, not a third individual.
We had excellent views of Black-capped Petrels on both trips, though they were definitely seen in higher numbers on Friday, the windier of the two days. Cory's type shearwaters dominated on both trips, but we did have good views of both Great and Audubon's on each trip. Wilson's Storm-Petrels were again around in low numbers, but this is also expected as we move into the late summer and early fall. We were lucky to get good views of two Band-rumped Storm-Petrels on Saturday, though none were seen on Friday. Tropical terns were hard to come by on Friday, though we did have excellent views of one Sooty, while Saturday we had nice views of both species and one of our participants even spotted a perched adult Bridled Tern that allowed for close approach (photo by Kate Sutherland).
Overall a great couple of trips! While we have had both tropicbirds on trips in the past, and even two White-taileds and a Red-billed on the same day...Brian cannot remember a trip with two individual Masked Boobies, so that was quite a feat! Our next trip is September 8 (weather date of the 9th), and we should have a chance to see all of these species except for the Band-rumped Storm-Petrels, which become scarce after late August down here. We have space! Think about joining us out there...
Thanks to Jeff Lemons and Nick Newberry for helping Brian and I lead the trips this weekend!
Species List for August 24 / 25
Trindade Petrel 1 / 0
Black-capped Petrel 49-52 / 19
Cory's Shearwater 1 / many seen
Scopoli's Shearwater 11 / many seen
Cory's type 84 / 440* we had hundreds of Cory's in a few flocks, it was impossible to break these down into Atlantic Cory's vs Scopoli's in the field
Great Shearwater 3 / 5
Audubon's Shearwater 16-20 / 13-14
Wilson's Storm-Petrel 20-22 / 23-24
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel 0 / 2-3
White-tailed Tropicbird 0 / 2
Red-billed Tropicbird 0 / 1
Masked Booby 0 / 2
Red-necked Phalarope 1 / 0
Sooty Tern 1 / 7
Bridled Tern 0 / 2
Sooty/Bridled 0 / 2
Least Tern 2 / 0
Pomarine Jaeger 0 / 1
Parasitic Jaeger 0 / 1
Semipalmated Sandpiper 0 / 1
Bottlenose Dolphin (offshore population) 11-13 / 0
Atlantic Spotted Dolphin 0 / 6
A couple photos of Black-capped Petrels - ventral by Brian Patteson, dorsal by Kate Sutherland
One of the Scopoli's Shearwaters that we saw on Saturday (Brian Patteson)
Audubon's on the water (Brian Patteson) and flying in the rain (Kate Sutherland)
While Wilson's Storm-Petrels were in short supply, they did make some nice passes for photographs! (Kate Sutherland)
The second White-tailed Tropicbird just after taking off of the water (Brian Patteson)
Record shot of the Red-billed Tropicbird (Kate Sutherland)
Bridled Tern in flight (Brian Patteson)
& a couple images of the very cooperative Atlantic Spotted Dolphins we had on the way in on Saturday (Kate Sutherland)