Sunday, August 10, 2014

August 8 & 9, 2014 - by Brian Patteson

After staying in on account of widespread thunderstorms with intense lightning last weekend, it was nice to get out again. We had yet another stalled cold front hanging over us, but not so much rain and no heat! The northeast wind made for a short, choppy sea in the Gulf Stream, but cloudy cool conditions made for good birding throughout the day. On Friday we had nice looks at the key deepwater birds- Black-capped Petrel
and Band-rumped Storm-Petrel
within minutes of putting out a chum slick, and these two species, along with Wilson's Storm-Petrel followed the boat for the duration of our time beyond the shelf break. We saw a modest number of shearwaters, including Great Shearwater, which can be hit or miss in mid to late summer.
The Sargassum community was messy and scattered and we did not see any terns except for a very distant one. Just past the shelf break we found a nice group of offshore Bottlenose Dolphins during the afternoon, with many small calves (photo K. Sutherland).
Right at the shelf break (70 fathoms) we were visited by a Fea's Petrel- quite a rarity here in August (photo Dave Shoch).
It seemed more interested in the trailing slick than the chum close to the boat, but it remained in view for a least a couple of minutes after the first pass. A little closer to shore we saw a few Red-necked Phalaropes along a messy weedline (photo Dave Shoch).
Saturday was similar to Friday in terms of weather, but the Gulf Stream had moved up a bit and we had a big eddy of cooler blended water out over the continental slope. It was productive, with good numbers of tubenoses out there, especially Band-rumped Storm-Petrels. We had them all day long in the deep, with up to six at a time following in the wake. We did not find any marine mammals offshore despite working over some good topography. There was, however, a school of Skipjack Tuna running bait to the surface about 29 miles offshore. Our junior leader Chloe Walker spotted the "beehive" of shearwaters first, and when we got closer, we found the season's first Sooty Terns over the flock, along with a single Bridled Tern (photo Dave Shoch),
which was actually our second for the day. Back in around the shelf break, it was quieter than on Friday, and the only new bird we added was a Black Tern on the ride in. All in all, it was a nice couple of days on the Stormy Petrel II. I would like to thank our leaders- Dave Shoch, Chris Sloan, Jeff Lemons, and Chloe Walker- for keeping a sharp eye out and capturing some nice images for the report.

Brian Patteson 

Trip lists are on our website here

Black-capped Petrel by Dave Shoch
 Cory's Shearwater - top image by Chris Sloan & bottom two by Dave Shoch
Audubon's Shearwater by Chris Sloan
 Two images of Band-rumped Storm-Petrel by Chris Sloan
And another by Dave Shoch

 Wilson's Storm-Petrel by Chris Sloan
Awesome shot of a Sooty Tern and a Sargassum Midget by Chris Sloan
 We had a Yellow Warbler come aboard on Friday!  Here it is perched on Jeff Spaulding's hat - Chris Sloan.
 & a close up by Dave Shoch
a few more images of the Bottlenose Dolphins from Friday by Kate Sutherland
Atlantic Patchwing by Chris Sloan

No comments:

Post a Comment