Monday, May 31, 2021

Monday May 31, 2021 - Kate Sutherland

Weather kept us ashore for two days, May 29 and 30, so today we finally continued the Blitz.  Winds were from the north west this morning and we ran offshore under cloudy skies.  Not much was flying between Hatteras Inlet and the shelf break, and even after the break we didn't see much reason to slow down until we started to see some birds.  The oil had barely begun its drip when Brian came on the loudspeaker to say that a nearby charter boat had seen a Masked Booby!  I thought at first it was somewhere far from us, because that's how it usually goes...but then he announced it was flying toward the boat at 11:00!  Sure enough, a first summer Masked Booby came to investigate the Stormy Petrel II, in poor light, and proceeded to dive a couple of times nearby.  Incredible start to the day and the first booby for our Spring Season.  
Black-capped Petrels and Band-rumped Storm-Petrels were both cooperative for viewing today, which was nice because Band-rumps have been a bit hit or miss so far this spring.  We had excellent views of all the birds we saw and it make the day super interesting and exciting, especially since we had a nice flock of Wilson's and searching for that European Storm-Petrel is always fun.  Great Shearwaters are beginning to show up and it was nice to have some in the slick most of the day.  
Audubon's were out in the Sargassum in good numbers and we even had one on the water right next to the boat.  Cory's, Scopoli's, and those individuals in between were also around and made some nice passes.  Overall it was an incredible day out there!
Thanks so much to Ed Corey and Andrew Rapp for helping Brian and I lead the trip - and a huge thank you to everyone who joined us out there today!  We'll see what we can turn up tomorrow!

*all photos today by Kate Sutherland

Species List May 31, 2021
Black-capped Petrel - 23 to 29
Cory's Shearwater - 30
Scopoli's Shearwater - 2
Cory's / Scopoli's - 20
Great Shearwater - 7
Sooty Shearwater - 5
Audubon's Shearwater - 19 to 21
Wilson's Storm-Petrel - 260 to 275
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel - 4 to 6
Masked Booby - 1
jaeger sp. - 1
Bottlenose Dolphins (offshore population) - 12
Flying Squid - 40 to 50 !!

Black-capped Petrel shearing the water, not a commonly captured moment!
One of the intermediate Black-cappeds we saw today
An example of a Cory's type - a bird with some white but not really enough to be a slam dunk Scopoli's - the bill, though, is also slender and there is not as much dark in the leading edge of the underwing as we sometimes see in Atlantic Cory's.
We were lucky to have one nice Scopoli's come to the slick!
Great Shearwaters are always fun to photograph and having them around all day means they get photographed a lot!  All of the individuals we saw today were completing molt.

This image has a Band-rumped Storm-Petrel to the right, but the Great Shearwater stole the focus!
A couple more images of the Masked Booby


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