Tuesday, June 30, 2020

June 26 & 27, 2020 - by Kate Sutherland

Our first trips of the summer turned out as well as we had hoped!  Winds were southwest leading up to Friday's trip, but then they shifted to the west early that morning so we headed offshore feeling like a lot of birds may have been pushed out with the offshore wind...but there were some Cory's and Great Shearwaters as we headed toward the shelf break - phew!  Once we got there and slowed down we had Black-capped Petrels right off the bat! (Kate Sutherland)
Plus Cory's, Great, and Audubon's Shearwaters with some Wilson's Storm-Petrels fluttering around in the slick.  The first Band-rumped Storm-Petrel flew in before 0900!  As we worked offshore, we added Bridled Tern to the day's list and also found our first Scopoli's Shearwater of the summer.  Late morning the wind shifted a bit more to the north and it seemed our chum was more attractive to our tubenosed friends.  Black-capped Petrels worked their way up the slick circling by the stern on their close approach.  Our inshore tack was really productive for watching Scopoli's with Great Shearwaters and we had good views of Band-rumpeds and Wilson's as well.  It was an excellent study, though the light was not perfect for photographs.  A second Bridled Tern was spotted perching on a plastic bottle right around noontime, and it allowed a close approach! (Kyle Kittelberger)
On our way back to the inlet a playful pod of Atlantic spotted dolphins came it to the bow and put on a good show for us!

Saturday we didn't have as much wind in the morning, but it was southwest and the forecast had it increasing over the course of the day - we were looking forward to it!  We had all of our shearwaters again before 0900 with a couple of Bridled Terns in the distance.  Wilson's Storm-Petrels were as numerous as they were on Friday, but we had a few behind us for most of the day.  We had at least one Leach's Storm-Petrel make an appearance when the wind starting picking up and it flew right by the boat so we could easily see the forked tail and large rump patch - not to mention the startlingly buffy carpal bars!  Band-rumped Storm-Petrels were following in the slick with up to four at a time back there, and while most that we saw on these trips were presumed "Grant's" type, we had at least one "little" Band-rump on Saturday! (Ed Corey)
Jaegers were also out there on Saturday, with one young Pom in the morning and a gorgeous first summer Long-tailed Jaeger in the afternoon. (Kate Sutherland)
The latter stayed with us for over an hour feeding in the slick alongside the Scopoli's and Great Shearwaters and in spite of some harassment from the Black-caps!  Offshore bottlenose dolphins were out there today and we had a few encounters with them right under the bow.  In the morning Kyle Kittelberger spotted some whales breaching over a mile away - they looked to be some type of beaked whales!  Their size suggested perhaps they were Cuvier's beaked whales, but it was hard to tell.  Overall it was a good start to the summer and we hope to add more species to the season's list in late July and August!

Thank you to everyone who joined us this weekend for the trips and thank you to Kyle Kittelberger and Ed Corey for helping Brian and I lead the trip and for contributing photos for this post!  

Species List for June 26 / 27
Black-capped Petrel 18 / 18 to 19
Cory's Shearwater 23 / 9
Scopoli's Shearwater 13 / 5
Cory's type 5 / 6
Great Shearwater 17 / 27
Audubon's Shearwater 9 / 12
Wilson's Storm-Petrel 40 / 25
Leach's Storm-Petrel 0 / 1 to 2
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel 6 / 9
Bridled Tern 2 / 2
Bridled/Sooty Tern 0 / 1
Royal Tern 0 / 1
Pomarine Jaeger 0 / 1
Long-tailed Jaeger 0 / 1
Pomarine/Parasitic 0 / 1

beaked whale 0 / 2
Atlantic spotted dolphin 15 / 0
Offshore bottlenose dolphin 0 / 40 to 42

Scopoli's Shearwaters dorsal view (Kate Sutherland) ventral view showing extensive white in the underprimaries, especially p10 (Kyle Kittelberger)
A Cory's type feeding in the slick - this bird had white in the underprimaries, but not an extensive amount in p10.  We usually leave birds that do not show all of the characteristics of Scopoli's as Cory's/Scopoli's (Kate Sutherland)
Great Shearwaters were present most of the day each day!  On Saturday we got to do a "chum dump" at the end of the day and watch the Great's bicker over this floating treasure!  (Kate Sutherland)
Leach's Storm-Petrel - dorsal view showing the long bill and buffy carpal bars (Kate Sutherland) and a ventral view showing the forked tail (Ed Corey)
A couple more images of the "little" Band-rumped on Saturday (Kate Sutherland)
Our young Pomarine Jaeger that visited the slick on Saturday (Ed Corey)
And another photo of the Long-tailed Jaeger (Kyle Kittelberger)
And finally, our spotted dolphins from Friday (Kate Sutherland) and our offshore bottlenose dolphins from Saturday (Ed Corey)!

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