Sunday, August 23, 2015

August 21 & 22, 2015 by Brian Patteson

It was good to be back out on the big boat with a good number of participants on two consecutive trips.  The weather was quite different each day.  On Friday we had light winds and slight seas for most of the day and on Saturday, it was pretty testy in the hot fast water for the six hours were spent there.   Shearwaters were seen in good numbers each day and recent trends continued.  We had modest numbers of Cory’s Shearwaters (photo by Kate Sutherland, individual pictured is a good candidate for Scopoli's)
and good numbers of Great and Audubon’s Shearwaters.  On Friday morning there was a good flight of shearwaters as we headed out over the continental shelf, but there were also many birds sitting by mid morning.  On Saturday, there were more birds moving over a very broad front for most of the morning.  Storm-petrels were very scarce on Friday and we had our first miss on Band-rumped since May.  We did better with Wilson’s on Saturday, but it took a while to chum up a few Band-rumps.  Black-capped Petrels were very scarce on Friday, but showed up well with the wind on Saturday (photo by Kate Sutherland). 
It was a great day for Black-caps and we had several feeding close in the chum during the early afternoon.  On Friday we had a nice flock of Bridled Terns come in and feed in the slick.  That’s right- we chummed up the terns (photo by Kate Sutherland). 
Sooty Terns were notably absent after being around the last couple of weekends.   We did not find any feeding flocks of seabirds over tuna in the slope waters this weekend despite a bit of looking.   Friday was a good day for phalaropes and we saw a few flocks, but they were all on the move.  I was hoping for some jaegers with the cold front, but our only good look was a Pomarine chasing Audubon’s Shearwaters on Friday.  Mid to late August has historically been a good time to see Trindade Petrels and tropicbirds, but they have not been around much lately.  What have been around though are boobies and we saw two nice ones on Friday: first a flyby Brown spotted by Kate, and then a second summer Masked Booby I picked out of a shearwater flock (photo with Cory's by Kate Sutherland).  
The Brown was our third for the season and it was our second Masked Booby for the year.  I would like to thank Kate Sutherland for doing her usual excellent job leading and this week's guest leaders- Scott Winton (check out his blog post about the trips here) and Natalia Ocampo Penuela- for doing an outstanding job as well.  They were particularly diligent in reporting every bird they saw for the day’s count.  We are running another trip from Hatteras  on Saturday, August 29 and space is available.  We also have space on a small boat trip on Sept. 5.  After that, we don’t have any open trips scheduled for a while, but we are open for charters.  September is a good month for seabirds here- usually all month long.  Thank you to everyone who joined us for these trips!

Trip Lists for Aug 21 / 22
Black-capped Petrel  13 / 38-43
Cory's Shearwater  131 / 154
Great Shearwater  31 / 17
Audubon's Shearwater  67 / 83
Wilson's Storm-Petrel  32 / 76-81
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel  0 / 3-5
Oceanodroma sp.  0 / 2
Masked Booby  1 / 0
Brown Booby  1 / 0
Red-necked Phalarope  60 / 0
Bridled Tern  11 / 1
Onychoprion sp.  0 / 1  
Black Tern  32 / 20+
Pomarine Jaeger  1 / 0

Black-capped Petrel showing the white rump and why Steve Howell calls it a flying field mark!  (Kate Sutherland)
We had some white-faced Black-cappeds on Saturday's trip (Kate Sutherland)
A couple of photos to show the conditions on Saturday, and why the Black-cappeds were on the move in their element! (Kate Sutherland)
And a darker Black-capped (Kate Sutherland)
This photo illustrates how cooperative Friday's Masked Booby was! (Brian Patteson)
& in flight (Kate Sutherland)
A couple more Bridled Tern shots from Friday!  First Summer individual (Kate Sutherland)
 Adult (Kate Sutherland)

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