The shelf break held some sargassum and at least eight Bridled Terns plus Cory's and Great Shearwaters! This certainly started the day off well! As we headed offshore we found a nice flock of feeding shearwaters that we were able to approach and spend some time with. The majority of the birds were Cory's and many of these looked to be the nominate Scopoli's Shearwater (photo by Ed Corey).
Wilson's Storm-Petrels were quite scarce, as they can be later in the year, but we did have nice views of at least a couple individuals that came in to visit the slick. The Black-capped Petrels were very obliging and we had some incredible photo opportunities as they sailed by the boat (photo by Ed Corey).
A big thank you to Dr. Seabird McKeon of St. Mary's College of Maryland for bringing his Coastal Ecology class out with us, they got to spend the day in the big, blue classroom! And thank you to everyone who joined us making the trip possible! Thanks also to Kyle Kittelberger and Ed Corey for helping us lead the trip and contributing their photos for this blog post! We have four trips next month on the 6(7), 13(14), 19, and 20 - think about joining us!
Species List September 22, 2018
Black-capped Petrel 42-44
Cory's Shearwater 10+
Scopoli's Shearwater 30+
Cory's type 95-96
Great Shearwater 18
Audubon's Shearwater 25
Wilson's Storm-Petrel 3
Red-necked Phalarope 2
Sooty Tern 2
Bridled Tern 9
Sooty/Bridled Tern 1
Black Tern 9
Sandwich Tern 1
Pomarine Jaeger 5
jaeger sp. 1
peep sp. 7
Pilot Whale (likely Short-finned) 23-28
Offshore Bottlenose Dolphin 39-45
Another Black-capped Petrel image showing the white rump that is easily visible from a great distance! (Ed Corey)
We had a lot of Cory's types out there and many were like this individual that looked small in the field but only had reduced amounts of white in the underprimaries. It feels like the more we learn the less we know with these subspecies (or to many, species!). (Kate Sutherland)