Our last three day set of the season went off without a hitch! It was nice to run our summer trips without interruption this year and while last weekend we had some abnormal conditions, this weekend had closer to normal Gulf Stream current on all three trips and we finally saw some nice conditions with Sargassum...which also means flotsam for Bridled Terns to use for perching!
Jaegers were also a treat over the weekend with Long-tailed Jaeger seen on all three trips, juvenile birds on Friday and Saturday then a nice one year old bird on Sunday who put on a nice show chasing Sooty Terns and Audubon's Shearwaters!
Friday's trip found all three species, with really nice views of young Parasitic and Long-tailed Jaegers. The Pomarine was one of the first birds of the day in the morning rain.
Black-capped Petrels were seen well on Friday and Saturday with Sunday finding just nine individuals, though easterly winds are not always the best for finding our Gulf Stream specialty. We were excited to have really nice examples of both white-faced and black-faced birds over the weekend, as the images below illustrate!
The expected summer shearwater species were out there in good numbers and we had a Manx zip across the bow Friday morning then a Sooty Shearwater fly by at a distance on Sunday. Otherwise, as you can see from the images below, we had both Cory's and Scopoli's, cooperative Greats, and some really cooperative (and numerous) Audubon's!
August is when our storm-petrels get a bit scarce. We consider ourselves very lucky to see Band-rumped Storm-Petrels after about the 25th of August so we were in luck to get two on the 26th and one on the 27th! Sunday we didn't find any at all... One of the birds we saw Friday plopped down on the water just ahead of the boat and we were able to get everyone positioned on that side in time to see it on the water and to see it take off! What a treat!!
Thank you so much to everyone who joined us and made these trips some of the best attended of the summer! While we were sorry that George Armistead and Liam Heart of Hillstar Nature Tours couldn't join us to help lead the trips (due to illness), we are incredibly thankful to Daniel Irons, Sarah Toner, and Paul Laurent for being willing to help out on short notice! All of the photos for the post this time are mine, scroll down for a few more images from the three day set.
Species List for 26 / 27 / 28 August 2022
Black-capped Petrel - 40 / 53 to 58 / 9
Scopoli's Shearwater - 8 / 6 / 17
Atlantic Cory's Shearwater - 10 / 5 / 1
Cory's / Scopoli's - 59 to 67 / 37 / 130
Great Shearwater - 32 to 35 / 11 / 15 to 16
Sooty Shearwater - 0 / 0 / 1
Manx Shearwater - 1 / 0 / 0
Audubon's Shearwater - 18 / 10 / 53 to 55
Wilson's Storm-Petrel - 31 to 32 / 17 to 18 / 13 to 15
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel - 2 / 1 / 0
Red-necked Phalarope - 0 / 4 / 99
Sabine's Gull - 0 / 1 adult / 1 adult
Sooty Tern - 104 / 26 / 56
Bridled Tern - 8 / 4 / 24
Sooty / Bridled Tern - 2 / 9 / 9
Pomarine Jaeger - 1 / 0 / 0
Parasitic Jaeger - 1 / 0 / 0
Long-tailed Jaeger - 1 / 1 / 1
Blue-winged Teal - 0 / 0 / 2
Laughing Gull - 0 / 0 / 2
Royal Tern - 3 / 3 / 0
Common Tern - 19 / 41 / 19
Sterna species - 0 / 6 / 0
Black Tern - 4 / 14 / 14
Semipalmated Plover - 2 / 0 / 0
Least Sandpiper - 1 / 0 / 0
Semipalmated Sandpiper - 0 / 2 / 0
peep species - 1 / 0 / 1
shorebird species - 0 / 1 / 0
Prothonotary Warbler - 2 / 0 / 0
Offshore Bottlenose Dolphin - 10 / 0 / 20 to 22
Coastal Bottlenose Dolphin - 2 / 0 / 0
sea turtle species - 1 / 0 / 0
Scalloped or Carolina Hammerhead - 1 / 1 / 0
Sailfish - 0 / 3 seen / 0
Wahoo - 1 caught / 1 caught / 1 caught
Monarch - 0 / 1 / 0
A number of small moths / butterflies were also seen offshore
One more of the Black-capped Petrel & the Sabine's Gull from Saturday's trip!
When I went through my photos I saw that we had a sea turtle, likely a young Loggerhead, near the board that was a perch for a young Bridled Tern and its parent on Friday! You can see the back of it here to the left of the board and the tip of a flipper, then a shot showing gorgeous detail on the adult as it took off with the out of focus flipper (easily identified as a sea turtle!) nearby!