Friday, February 23, 2024

Feb. 18, 2024; Alcids Aplenty by Brian Patteson

After a day of strong winds from the north on Saturday, I had high hopes for getting out on both Sunday and Monday, but it wasn't to be. Sunday was nice enough though, and we had good conditions for seeing alcids with slight seas and cloudy skies. Razorbills were not as abundant as they sometimes are, but we still saw over 200 by 0830. By 0930, we were about 24 nautical miles offshore and seeing plenty of Dovekies, as well as our first Atlantic Puffins. About 30 miles out, we had a close flyby Thick-billed Murre on the bow: our third for the season. I thought it would be a good idea to try to find some warmer water, so we kept charging offshore, arriving at "The Point" around 1100. The Point is a heavily visited area where there is a deep submarine canyon and typically good tuna fishing. We found several boats fishing there and catching both Bluefin and Yellowfin Tuna. The water was warmer, but only reached the low to mid 60s. The 70 degree Gulf Stream water was farther offshore and out of range on this day. Nevertheless, we did find a few hundred Bonaparte's Gulls near the temperature break, and also several Red Phalaropes and one adult Little Gull, which was not close or easy to see. There were also quite a few Humpback Whales. These have been scarce inshore this winter, and perhaps they have been out here for a while. The water depth was in excess of 600 fathoms where we were seeing them, but there was a lot of bait out there. The inshore tack was the best for puffins, and Danny counted 61 in half an hour during the best of it. There was also a first winter Little Gull, but it kept its distance too. Back inshore there were a few Common Loons and several small groups of Razorbills. 

Dovekie by Nate Dias

Atlantic Puffin by Brian Patteson

Common Murre by Brian Patteson

Thick-billed Murre by Daniel Irons

Red Phalaropes by Daniel Irons

Bonaparte's Gull by Daniel Irons

HERG and LBBG by Daniel Irons

Humpback Whale by Daniel Irons

Bird List for Feb. 18, 2024

Red Phalarope 25
Atlantic Puffin 146
Razorbill 276
Dovekie 390
Common Murre 6
Thick-billed Murre 1
Little Gull 2
Bonaparte's Gull 515
Herring Gull 142
Ring-billed Gull 3
Great Black-backed Gull 33
Lesser Black-backed Gull 26
Red-throated Loon 74
Common Loon 19
Northern Gannet 55

We also saw 3 Ocean Sunfish, 10 Humpback Whales, 2 Common Dolphins, 25 Atlantic Spotted Dolphins, and 3 offshore Bottlenose Dolphins.

Thanks to everyone who came out for the trip and of course our crew: Daniel Irons and guest leaders Jeff Effinger and Nate Dias. 

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