Hurricane Fiona swept past North Carolina some 550 miles to our east last Thursday night / Friday morning reserving her wallop for Bermuda, we hope the Cahow nesting islands there did better than expected! (Image from NOAA NHC website Thursday evening)
Right over the shelf we saw our first Black-capped Petrels.
Back on the shelf in the afternoon we had reports of some shearwaters a bit to the north so we jogged up there to take a look and found Cory's, Scopoli's, Great, and Audubon's Shearwaters feeding on bait fish pushed to the surface by some false albacore. Scattered about were small feeding flocks of Black and Common Terns as well. Just after 2:30 I spotted a Bridled Tern ahead in one of the flocks, we had a glimpse, but unfortunately it did not show well and flew away. Leader Jason Denesevich had a couple that were closer less than an hour later.
Overall it was a successful day out there! We found everything we expected to see and were able to have some great looks at them, plus we had the thrill of experiencing a big swell offshore - and observing how our incredible seabirds are so well adapted to this environment!
Thanks to everyone who came offshore with us and thank you also to our leaders, Jason Denesevich and Matthew Withrow, for helping Brian and I lead the trip. All photos today are mine.
Species List for 24 September 2022
Black-capped Petrel 72 to 76
Atlantic Cory's Shearwater - 11
Scopoli's Shearwater - 12
Cory's / Scopoli's - 94
Great Shearwater - 9 to 10
Audubon's Shearwater - 25
Wilson's Storm-Petrel - 36 to 38
Red / Red-necked Phalarope - 1
Bridled Tern - 3
Sooty / Bridled Tern - 1
Jaeger species - 1 to 2
Laughing Gull - 9
Herring Gull - 3
Great Black-backed Gull - 4
Black Tern - 190
Common Tern - 175
Royal Tern - 10
Great Blue Heron - 1
Great Egret - 2
Peregrine Falcon - 1
Warbler species - possibly a Palm Warbler
Offshore Bottlenose Dolphin - 17 to 20
Coastal Bottlenose Dolphin - 18 to 20
Ocean Sunfish (Mola mola ) - possibly seen by participant Dick Veit
Seaturtle species - possibly seen below the surface by participant Alina Martin
We also saw a number of Cannonball and Moon Jellyfish
As always, it was awesome so see the variation in Black-capped Petrels out there, and we had some really nice dark individuals like this one below:
Dorsal view of a Black-capped Petrel
And while not the sharpest image, I love seeing the feather in the bill of this individual!
It was cool to see a few Scopoli's Shearwaters in the afternoon on the shelf with an Audubon's
And though the light was tough and super bright at times over the course of the day, I got at least one nice diagnostic image of a Great Shearwater
And oh the Wilson's! They were pretty cooperative for us photographers especially for a day with such large seas!
And some images of the Sailfin Flyingfish (Parexocoetus hillianus) whose colors are a bit more teal than other species we find offshore from Hatteras and today perfectly matched the water they were in!