There were some other interesting sightings for the day including at least 7 Mola mola, or Ocean Sunfish, one of which leaped from the water three times while we were watching! They came close enough to the boat for us to see these strange looking bony fish under the surface as they moved along waving their dorsal fins occasionally above the surface. We also had a nice hammerhead shark swim right up next to us and almost under the bow, much to the delight of participants in the pulpit! As we headed back to shore, I spotted a large Loggerhead Turtle on the surface. Typically these animals will dive before we are able to stop the boat to look at them, but this one stayed up and allowed us to approach. Tami Gray, Brian's girlfriend and experienced waterwoman, noticed that there was a net hanging from the neck of the turtle. With some team work we were able to get the turtle to the side of the boat, cut some of the net free, and see the extent of her injuries. Once we saw the shape she was in, we brought her aboard, cut the remainder of the net from around her neck and took her back to port for a trip to a rehab facility.
What an amazing day!
Species List for October 6, 2018
Black-capped Petrel 95-102
Cory's Shearwater 50
Scopoli's Shearwater 300
Cory's type 413-473
Great Shearwater 34-36
Sooty Shearwater 1
Audubon's Shearwater 71-72
Masked Booby 1
Red-necked Phalarope 48-49
Pomarine Jaeger 1
Pomarine/Parasitic Jaeger 1
Herring Gull 2
Peregrine Falcon 1
Loggerhead Turtle (with remoras when in the water) 1
hammerhead shark (likely Scalloped Hammerhead) 1
Mola mola (Ocean Sunfish) 7
Little Tunny 1 released
American Bird Grasshopper 1 came aboard offshore
Most of the Black-capped Petrels we saw were the dark faced type, like the one pictured below (Ed Corey), but there were at least four or five white-faced individuals that I saw over the course of the day!
A couple more gorgeous Black-capped images. (top Ed Corey, below Kate Sutherland)
The "beehives" were excellent for photos! Here is a photo of Scopoli's and Cory's type shearwaters feeding in the sargassum, followed by a Great Shearwater taking off (Brian Patteson)