Friday, May 20, 2022

The Beginning! 20 May 2022 by Kate Sutherland

 It was still pretty breezy as we headed offshore this morning for our first day of the Spring Blitz!  Skies were partly cloudy and the wind was blowing 15 to 20 miles per hour from the west southwest.  The ride to the Gulf Stream was a bit wet, but once we found the current edge - we could see the slick along the edge of the swift current with calmer water beyond.  When the wind and current are together, the seas are much calmer.  This gave us a nice condition to begin our fish oil slick and once we crossed the shelf break and saw our first Black-capped Petrel we put out more chum.  Surprisingly the Black-cappeds were hungry and they came in well with close to 40 individuals seen in the first hour! (feeding Black-capped by Kate Sutherland)
We had more Audubon's than we've seen so far this spring and a few were very obliging next to the boat.  Atlantic Cory's were seen as well and we had our first Sooty Shearwater of the year as we approached the shelf in the afternoon.  Wilson's Storm-Petrels were slow to gather, but we had a nice flock midday with Leach's and Band-rumped Storm-Petrels both making appearances! (Leach's photo by Kate Sutherland)  
It took awhile, but I think everyone got to see both species fairly well!  The list was rounded out by an Arctic Tern that came to check us out in the 1130 period.

Thanks to everyone who joined us out there today, we had a salty crew!  And thank you also to Peter Flood and Jason Denesevich for helping us to lead the trip.  Next report tomorrow!

Species List for May 20, 2022
Red / Red-necked Phalarope - 20
Laughing Gull - 1
Common Tern - 1
Arctic Tern - 1
Wilson's Storm-Petrel - 130 to 140
Leach's Storm-Petrel - 4
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel - 5 to 7
Black-capped Petrel - 71 to 77
Atlantic Cory's Shearwater - 6
Cory's / Scopoli's Shearwater - 13 to 15
Sooty Shearwater - 1
Audubon's Shearwater - 8 to 10
Peep sp - 36 to 40

Atlantic Spotted Dolphin - 4 to 7
Loggerhead Turtle - 1

Black-capped Petrels definitely stole the show today!  Here are a few more images by Kate Sutherland
Audubon's Shearwater (Kate Sutherland)
One of our Band-rumped Storm-Petrels going down to feed in the slick! (Kate Sutherland)
And another as it zipped by the stern! (Kate Sutherland)
Our Arctic Tern (Peter Flood)

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