Monday, May 30, 2022

Easterlies ~ 30 May 2022 by Kate Sutherland

Well, we're closing in on the end of our annual Spring Blitz and today we added one more species to the list for this one plus great looks at the usual suspects!  I think we might just be missing Bridled Tern and Masked Booby by now...maybe tomorrow.  The shelf held a spectacular show this morning with at least three groups of feeding shearwaters for us to peruse and we had awesome views of Scopoli's, Cory's, Great, Sooty, Audubon's, plus some close Arctic Terns. (Ed Corey)
The easterly wind also brought a Leach's Storm-Petrel close by the boat on the shelf (Kate Sutherland).
As we reached the shelf and headed offshore the birds thinned out, but when a Band-rumped Storm-Petrel flew by headed to the east...Brian decided we should head that way too.  It took some time but we had great views of Black-capped Petrel over the course of the day, this may have been some of the lowest counts of the spring for them, but a quick encounter with one of their smaller cousins in the 1000 period made up for that when a Fea's Petrel flew in on the starboard side!! (Chris Sloan)
It came in fast and low, passing fairly close by the corner of the boat before rocketing away down the slick.  Hopefully everyone was quick enough to get a look at it!  Our next uncommon find came from above.  Brian put out the "tropicbird teaser" for our inshore tack and sure enough just after 1230 one dropped out of the sky and came to investigate the boat!! (Chris Sloan)
It flew around us a few times, swooping down to get a better look at us and what we might have to offer in the slick.  Everyone had a great view of this White-tailed Tropicbird, the first of the Blitz (though yes, my regular readers, we did have another one on a trip earlier this month that was banded!).  Our foray into the deep paid off plus we had an encounter with some Pilot Whales (likely Short-finned)! (Peter Flood) 
They were super cooperative and checked us out a few times.  There was at least one large male who was on his own closer to us and a couple of very small youngsters with maybe a female or two nearby.  Atlantic Spotted Dolphins gave us a nice show in the morning on our way to the shelf as well! 
Thank you so much to everyone who joined us and thank you also to our leaders who helped Brian and I lead the trip: Todd McGrath, Chris Sloan, Peter Flood, and Ed Corey.  They also are super helpful with photo contributions every evening!

Species List for 30 May 2022
skua / jaeger - 1
Common Tern - 2
Arctic Tern - 14
Common / Arctic Tern - 3
White-tailed Tropicbird - 1
Wilson's Storm-Petrel - 114 to 124
Leach's Storm-Petrel - 3
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel - 6 to 8
Fea's Petrel (likely Desertas) - 1
Black-capped Petrel - 21
Scopoli's Shearwater - 11
Atlantic Cory's Shearwater - 12
Cory's / Scopoli's - 130 to 132
Great Shearwater - 72 to 73
Sooty Shearwater - 25
Audubon's Shearwater - 39
Ruddy Turnstone - 8
Pilot Whale (prob. Short-finned) - 15 to 20
Offshore Bottlenose Dolphin - 5 to 7
Atlantic Spotted Dolphin - 7
Portuguese Man of War - 2
Sea turtle species - 1

A couple more White-tailed Tropicbird images (Ed Corey & Kate Sutherland)
We had some darker Black-capped Petrels today (Kate Sutherland, Peter Flood)
Cory's & Scopoli's (Peter Flood)
Great Shearwater (Kate Sutherland)
Sooty Shearwaters were around in good numbers on the shelf today! (Kate Sutherland)
And Audubon's were seen more offshore (Ed Corey)
Band-rumpeds seemed to visit us in the worst light today, but Chris Sloan still managed to get a great photo!
Another Pilot Whale image showing the eye (Kate Sutherland)
Sooties and some Sargassum (Kate Sutherland)
Flyingfishes (Kate Sutherland) patchwing and rosy-veined clearwing

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