Saturday, June 4, 2016

Saturday June 4, 2016 Better Action Today by Brian Patteson

I was thinking it had rained about as much as possible already this week, but I was wrong. I stepped outside into a downpour around 0440. I think we have had about 14 inches of rain this week, yet we have not missed a trip since May 21. Rain squalls are annoying, but cloudy rainy weather is usually good for birding offshore. Wind in the squalls gives our sailing seabirds a boost.  Heading out to sea, we managed to avoid most of the rain by watching the radar and keeping in touch with the fleet.  We reached the shelf break around 0800 and there was a good sign of Cory’s Shearwaters (photo by Kate Sutherland) and a few Audubon’s.
We worked our way south and east and Black-capped Petrels (photo by Kate Sutherland) and Band-rumped Storm-Petrels came to our chum slick for nice views.
A wandering Royal Tern got our attention out in the deep, but we could not find a tropicbird today. We did, however, find a Bridled Tern perched on flotsam (photo by Kate Sutherland).
It was the first one in a few days, and it was easy to see in the calm conditions. Bridled is a hit or miss bird on the spring trips, but southerly winds and smooth seas increase the odds of finding it. It looks like it will be choppy tomorrow with a 15 to 20 knot sou’wester. That should stir up the tubenoses and make our chumming even more effective. Thanks to Kate Sutherland and Chloe Walker for leading today’s trip.

Trip List June 4, 2016
Black-capped Petrel  22
Cory's Shearwater  70
Great Shearwater  2
Sooty Shearwater  1 (seen on the way out in the morning)
Audubon's Shearwater  28
Wilson's Storm-Petrel  78
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel  2
Oceanodroma sp.  1
Bridled Tern  1
Pomarine Jaeger  1

Royal Tern  1

A few of the Black-cappeds we saw today looked fairly messy like this individual, but quite a few were fresh - most of what we saw today were either intermediate or dark-faced birds (Kate Sutherland)

Most of the Cory's we saw today were the Atlantic type, but a few were more intermediate like this individual (Kate Sutherland)
Audubon's were around today and we had some close passes! (Kate Sutherland)

The Cory's were diving in the slick for chum! (Kate Sutherland)
All of the Band-rumpeds we saw today were molting, like this individual below (Kate Sutherland)
I just liked this silhouetted Band-rumped that flared up as it dropped down to feed in the slick (Kate Sutherland)
 Bridled Tern in flight (Kate Sutherland)
 This flyingfish looks like a "smurf" - they are quite small!  (Kate Sutherland)
 This flyingfish looks like an Atlantic Patchwing with some pink shades in the pectoral fins (Kate Sutherland)

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