Monday, June 11, 2012

June 9 & 10, 2012

The wind shifted around and blew from the north on the days we did not run trips during the past week, giving us hope that we would find a bit more life this weekend, and we were not disappointed!  Light, westerly winds greeted us each morning as we headed offshore making the conditions very pleasing for participants and giving just enough of a breeze to get birds off the water.  Black-capped Petrels were hard to come by this weekend, with just four on Saturday and two passes by one individual on Sunday;  who knew it would be the rare bird for many of our participants who were new to these trips?  Shearwaters made a nice showing and while the counts might seem low, the views were spectacular, especially on Sunday!  We found a group of 15 Audubon's Shearwaters with a Great Shearwater feeding in and around some sargassum midmorning, quite a sight to behold with them scurrying around, calling, as they fed!  Two Bridled Terns were in the area as well flying circles around the boat, and returning a few times so that everyone was able to see them well.  Our chum had the shearwaters really excited on Sunday and we actually had Cory's Shearwaters diving in the slick!  We do not typically see Cory's diving here like the Great Shearwaters do, and we even got photos showing one of the Pomarine Jaegers diving completely under the surface as well!!  Saturday was the day of the Band-rumped Storm-Petrel with the first individual showing up at 0753!  We had 15-17 individuals and rarely was there a moment we did not have one flying around the boat, making very close passes by the stern, or following back in the slick!  Wilson's Storm-Petrels were back in good numbers by Sunday with individuals following in the slick as far back as you could see all day.  First summer Pomarine Jaegers were seen each day with two of them following us almost the entire day on Sunday!  The first Pilot Whales (prob. short-finned) of the season were seen on Saturday and we had more Sunday with the addition of some cooperative Atlantic Spotted Dolphins in the morning, and some Bottlenose Dolphins offshore.  A fishing boat reported about 500 (!) flying squid in the morning on Saturday, and we were lucky to have about 15 shoot out of the water in front of us later that day.

Overall a very successful weekend, and we want to thank everyone who came offshore with us this spring making it possible to run 15 trips.

Also a big thanks to all of our leaders who took time to help us out this spring: Bob Fogg, Steve Howell, Kevin Metcalf, Dave Shoch, & Chris Sloan;  thanks to Nate Dias, Bob Fogg, Steve Howell, Dave Shoch, & Chris Sloan for sharing their photos with us to post here!

Special thanks to Willie Hendrickson who was on every trip with us and earned his title of Junior Assistant Leader by the end!  I know he helped a lot of our participants get looks at many of our "usual suspects" and kept them occupied with engaging conversation...!

A photo of Willie on morning 14 from the wheelhouse...!

June 9, 2012
Black-capped Petrel   4
Cory's Shearwater   7
Great Shearwater   2
Audubon's Shearwater   17
Wilson's Storm-Petrel   abt 120
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel   15-17
Bridled Tern   1
Pomarine Jaeger   2

Pilot Whale (prob. Short-finned)   10
flying squid   15

June 10, 2012
Black-capped Petrel   1
Cory's Shearwater   13
Great Shearwater   6-7
Audubon's Shearwater   41
Wilson's Storm-Petrel   300-350
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel   5-7
Bridled Tern   4
Pomarine Jaeger   2

Pilot Whale (prob. Short-finned)   20-30
Atlantic Spotted Dolphin   5-7
Bottlenose Dolphin   20-23

Photos from June 9:
Great Shearwater
 Band-rumped Storm-Petrel
 Wilson's Storm-Petrel
 Pilot Whales
Photos from June 10:
our only Black-capped Petrel of the day did not make a very close pass
Cory's Shearwater
 Cory's Shearwater
 Great Shearwater

Band-rumped Storm-Petrel

Pomarine Jaeger harassing a Cory's Shearwater!

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