Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Wednesday May 27, 2020 - Kate Sutherland

And finally!!!  We begin the Spring Blitz...with some adjustments...but regardless, it was so nice to get offshore today!  Our schedule has been quite reduced by the current pandemic but we're full (a lighter full than before...) for the rest of this spring - thank you to everyone who is able to join us!

Departure was before dawn this morning and we went out via Ocracoke Inlet to the south.  Sunrise came just as we approached Ocracoke and the channel to the ocean!  (Kate Sutherland)
We worked our way offshore to the shelf break about where we would normally start from Hatteras, and though our time in the deeper water was limited, once we dropped the chum in the water we had birds!  Our first encounter with a Trindade Petrel was just before 1000 and was a dark morph (record shot by Kyle Kittelberger). 
And just as a rain squall took over our boat after 1100 a second individual flew in and arced up high a couple of times checking out our slick (Kate Sutherland)!  You can see the rain in the dorsal view.  This bird looked more like an intermediate type of Trindade Petrel.  
A third individual, a light morph, was observed by Kyle Kittelberger and Jeremy Dominguez but no one captured an image.  In addition to these incredible encounters, we had a number of awesome sightings over the course of the day!  Of note were a number of Leach's Storm-Petrels and two South Polar Skuas.  Since morning will be coming very early for me, I am going to leave you with the species list and some more photos until tomorrow (hopefully the weather is cooperative!!!)!

Thank you to everyone who joined us out there today!  And thank you also to Kyle Kittelberger and Ed Corey for helping Brian and I lead the trips!  -Kate Sutherland

May 27, 2020 Species List

Trindade Petrel - 3
Black-capped Petrel - 14
Cory's Shearwater - 68
Great Shearwater - 5
Sooty Shearwater - 10
Audubon's Shearwater - 15
Wilson's Storm-Petrel - 90 to 100
Leach's Storm-Petrel - 25
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel - 9
Common Tern - 2
Common/Arctic Tern (not seen well) - 1
South Polar Skua - 2
Pomarine Jaeger - 2
jaeger species - 1 dark individual

Atlantic Spotted Dolphin - 3
Portuguese man-of-war - 1

Black-capped Petrels were also out there in the deeper water today and all were either white-faced birds like the one below, or intermediate birds (Kate Sutherland).
All of the Cory's Shearwaters we saw were from the Atlantic population, no "Cory's Types" today and no Scopoli's (Kate Sutherland)
It was nice to see some Sooty Shearwaters still moving by out there! (Kyle Kittleberger)
The Leach's were incredibly cooperative over the course of the day! (Kate Sutherland) here you can see the messy, large rump patch and forked tail.  The buffy carpal bars and large bill are also obvious.
Band-rumped Storm-Petrels also were in the slick for most of the day.  While most were molting individuals, presumably Grant's type (top), I was able to capture images of one non-molting individual that was feeding in the chum.  (Kate Sutherland)
The first South Polar Skua we saw first thing in the morning just outside of Ocracoke Inlet and it flew directly away!  The second, however, was sitting on the water and when it flew it was much more cooperative!  (Kyle Kittelberger)

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