Sunday morning was gorgeous as we headed under the new Marc Basnight Bridge to Oregon Inlet and we found over a hundred Bonaparte's Gulls right out front with at least one adult Little Gull! A bit later we had another! Razorbills were flying with over 500 tallied before 0830 and we also had a Common Murre fly by the boat, close! Definitely a super start to the day, and the seas fell out to slick calm by the end of it. Brian saw the first Atlantic Puffin of the day from the wheelhouse just after 0900 and we saw at least 91 over the course of the day, many close like the one pictured below (Peter Flood).
Monday was breezy! Since the wind had just picked up overnight, we had some choppy seas out there that made viewing alcids a bit of a challenge...but we still found our first puffin just after 0900! Outside of the inlet gulls and gannets were flying and we were able to attract a nice flock with our chum that stayed with us all day. Again, this paid off and we had at least one, possibly two, Great Skuas visit us just after noontime! Neither of these sightings looked like the individual we had on Sunday, though the same Glaucous Gull came to visit the flock again (Peter Flood).
Our trip this weekend will run from Wanchese, and we have a couple spaces open on that, otherwise we have added another date to the schedule, February 29 (Mar 1 weather date)! So join us! We would like to thank everyone who joined us this holiday weekend and a huge thank you to our leaders, Peter Flood and Jacob Farmer, for helping us with the boat, helping everyone get on the birds, chumming, and letting us use photos here on the blog!
Species of interest February 16 / 17
Red Phalarope - 8 / 2
Great Skua - 1 / 1-2
Dovekie - 272 / 731
Common Murre - 2 / 0
Razorbill - 729 / 230
Atlantic Puffin - 91 / 3
Little Gull - 2 / 0
Glaucous Gull - 1 / 1
Iceland Gull - 0 / 1
Northern Fulmar - 1 / 0
Manx Shearwater - 4 / 5
Minke Whale - 1 / 0
Bottlenose Dolphin - 50+ / 0
Loggerhead Turtle - 3 / 2
shark species, possibly a Mako - 1 / 0
*We also saw Bonaparte's, Herring, Lesser Black-backed, and Great Black-backed Gulls, Red-throated and Common Loons, and Northern Gannets. We had three Brown Pelicans offshore on Monday!
Another angle for Sunday's Great Skua (Kate Sutherland)
Glaucous Gull in a compromising position going in for some chum! (Kate Sutherland)
The Glaucous Gull on Sunday sitting with a Herring Gull (Kate Sutherland)
And a Herring Gull throwing back a nice piece of Menhaden (Kate Sutherland)
The young Iceland Gull that spent time with us in the stern on Monday (Kate Sutherland)
And we had some nice photo ops with Northern Gannets feeding behind the boat first thing on Monday morning! (Kate Sutherland)
One of the Loggerhead Turtles from Sunday (Kate Sutherland)
We captured some images of what I initially thought was a Basking Shark pushing water on the surface, but upon inspection, the back and dorsal fin shape point more to a Minke Whale! You never know what you'll turn up out there! Pretty exciting to find after the fact!