Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday May 23, 2014

Light winds and humid air greeted us this morning at the boat...not the north wind that was promised in the forecast!  Hatteras Inlet was beautiful with just a swell, no breakers, and we headed offshore with a fairly dry boat.  After we slowed down the breeze swung around to a more northerly direction and by midmorning it was blowing as promised!  Fortunately for us there was not a strong Gulf Stream current so with the winds a little over 20kts from the north, the seas were still quite comfortable!

Wind against the current is typically good for storm-petrels and today we had more Wilson's than we have seen yet this spring!  It was also an excellent day for Black-capped Petrels - they were around and in the slick all day, in their element.  The entire day there were birds around us and it was a sight to behold!  Sooty Shearwaters were also still present and we had up to five at a time following and diving in the slick.  Cory's were not as numerous as the past couple of days, but we still had some nice views.  Audubon's again proved to be a bit difficult to see well, but they were out there in the scattered sargassum.  Band-rumped Storm-Petrels were also in attendance with our first molting individual of the season seen today.  At quarter to eleven a light Trindade Petrel flew by in the sun glare, not giving a good look and headed away to the northeast.  We were lucky to have one fly into the back of the slick later in the afternoon (spotted by Dave Shoch) that gave us a great view, flying by close more than once for everyone to see!  Overall it was another great day offshore and tomorrow looks like it could also measure up - we'll see!

Thanks to everyone who joined us today, and thanks to our leaders Dave Shoch & Seabird McKeon for helping everyone get on the birds!

Light Trindade Petrel  1-2
Black-capped Petrel  67 counted (possibly more seen)
Cory's Shearwater   8
Great Shearwater  1
Sooty Shearwater  19-21
Audubon's Shearwater  10
Wilson's Storm-Petrel  240
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel  4-5
phalarope sp (prob. Red-necked)  5-6
Pomarine Jaeger  1

Red Knot  1
Ruddy Turnstone  2
Black-bellied Plover  1
Common Tern  2

Bottlenose Dolphin  about 10

Afternoon Trindade Petrel (photo by Dave Shoch)
 Two more shots of the Trindade Petrel (Brian Patteson)
Black-capped Petrel (Dave Shoch)
 and another (Brian Patteson)
Two photos of Sooty Shearwater (Dave Shoch)
Wilson's Storm-Petrel  (Brian Patteson)
Pomarine Jaeger - second summer (Brian Patteson)
Common Tern (Dave Shoch)

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