Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sunday June 8, 2014 - the Odd Couple

Today was the most beautiful day, weather wise, we have seen all spring, with light northerly winds.   A young Nothern Gannet flew by as we left the inlet, headed to the north.  Barely any spray on the way out or the way in, WOW!  Brian had seen a temperature shot and figured the hot, fast Gulf Stream water was over 40 miles offshore...but today we could get there, while many other days we had to contend with wind and sea conditions.  We motored out to where he thought we needed to be and before we even really slowed down, the shout of "Tropicbird!!" came from Jeff Lemons in the stern!  Leading up to this point, at only 0903, we had already seen one distant Black-capped Petrel, Cory's, Great, & Audubon's Shearwaters, plus a Long-tailed Jaeger and a couple of Beaked Whales!  I'm not even sure the rest of the day needs to be written in a proper report - I think Steve's photos will tell the tale...
Two tropicbirds...upon further inspection, one White-tailed (top) and one Red-billed (bottom)!  The White-tailed was calling as they flew over!
This is the first time we have ever seen the two species together like this!  Here is the White-tailed, a second year bird:
& the Red-billed, a first year:
Our first Long-tailed Jaeger of the day:
A couple of Laughing Gulls joined us, and then we spotted a white tern way out there, but making a beeline for us - it turned out to be a young Arctic Tern!  Later we had another, older individual join us behind the boat.  Excellent day for the birds from the east, perhaps they were held up by all of this north wind lately!
For contrast, we had some Common Terns around the boat out there as well, including one very tired individual who decided to land on the pulpit of boat for a quick rest!
While we were out there in the mega deep we saw some Atlantic Patchwings (pictured below) plus other flying fish species.
Black-capped Petrels were scarce, with only five individuals seen over the course of the day.  But a few came quite close to the boat, so those who wanted to see this gadfly petrel, had excellent views!
Great Shearwaters were more numerous than Wilson's Storm-Petrels behind the boat for most of the day!  They kept us entertained diving, calling, and feeding!  Here is a juvenile, and the second photo is of a third year individual.
We had a nice flight of Long-tailed Jaegers;  one even put on a spectacular show chasing a Wilson's Storm-Petrel!  Here is one individual with extensive white in the primaries, and another, more typical young bird below.
We did have one second summer Pomarine Jaeger that came in to harass our shearwaters - but it in turn was harassed by one of the Long-taileds!  
Bottlenose Dolphins joined us a couple times over the course of the day.
 And the Odd-spot Midgett was a highlight this afternoon as we headed back in over the shelf break!
This Loggerhead Turtle was seen on the way in this afternoon as well!

Black-capped Petrel  5
Cory's Shearwater  59
Great Shearwater  39-41
Sooty Shearwater  1
Manx Shearwater  1
Audubon's Shearwater  23
Wilson's Storm-Petrel  70-75
Leach's Storm-Petrel  4-5
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel  2-3
White-tailed Tropicbird  1
Red-billed Tropicbird  1
Northern Gannet  1
Laughing Gull  2
Common Tern  8
Arctic Tern  2
Pomarine Jaeger  1
Long-tailed Jaeger  7

Beaked Whale sp  2
Bottlenose Dolphin  13-18
Loggerhead Turtle  1
Blue Marlin (seen)  1

A big thank you again to everyone who joined us, especially the enthusiastic Chris Feeney who joined us for all 15 trips this spring!  Thanks to Steve Howell & Jeff Lemons for helping to lead the trip today, it was a good one!  

Our next trips are this Friday & Saturday.  Alvaro Jaramillo of Alvaro's Adventures has chartered the boat for these trips, so if you're interested in joining us, please let him know - email, or call him at (650) 504-7770!

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