Saturday, August 2, 2014

August 1, 2014 - Discovery Series

Overcast skies were the backdrop as we departed the marina around 0600 with a full boat (five participants) on the F/V Skua.  Showers and thunderstorms were forecast for the afternoon, but the morning looked good.  The seas were from the southeast making for a choppy ride offshore, but once we slowed down, it was quite comfortable on deck.  A Great Shearwater flew by us near shore and we only found another five over the course of the day.  Sargassum was scattered and not well organized for holding the birds we usually associate with it, so numbers of Audubon's Shearwaters were low, and no Bridled Terns were seen.  As the thunderstorms came on earlier than expected, we were a bit limited in our maneuverability in the deep.  There was not a very strong Gulf Stream current running though, and we still had close, excellent views of the birds we encountered.  Black-capped Petrels, though few in number, came quite close to the boat.  And while we did have a good flock of Wilson's Storm-Petrels, the first storm-petrel of the day was a Band-rumped!  These large storm-petrels stuck around in the slick for most of the day and everyone was excited to have multiple chances to study them with the Wilson's.  Cory's, Great, and Audubon's Shearwaters also made close passes, so we did not miss any of our expected species!  While passes were close, the light was poor, so we did not take any photos.

Trip List for August 1, 2014
Black-capped Petrel  12
Cory's Shearwater  7
Great Shearwater  6
Audubon's Shearwater  10
Wilson's Storm-Petrel  157-187
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel  15-16

shorebird sp.  about a dozen

So, on to the 2nd of August - scheduled to be a trip aboard the Stormy Petrel II...  We ended up canceling because there were lines of lightning filled storms offshore where we need to go and high winds associated with them!  We are scheduled to run again tomorrow on the F/V Skua - so hopefully there will be another trip report from this weekend!

As I usually like to do when we get weathered out, I have a list of species seen in the past on August 2.  We have only run three trips on this date: 1997, 2003, and 2008.  For just three trips, the species list is quite impressive...

Black-capped Petrel
Cory's Shearwater
Great Shearwater
Audubon's Shearwater (359 on the 1997 trip!)
Wilson's Storm-Petrel
Leach's Storm-Petrel
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel
White-tailed Tropicbird
Masked Booby
Red-necked Phalarope
Sooty Tern
Bridled Tern
Least Tern
Black Tern
Common Tern
Royal Tern
Pomarine Jaeger
Long-tailed Jaeger

Pilot Whale
Risso's Dolphin
Bottlenose Dolphin
Sperm Whale
Mesoplodon sp.
Cuvier's Beaked Whale
Loggerhead Turtle
Hammerhead Shark

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