Monday, February 19, 2024

February 15, 2024 Alcids Continue to Dominate by Brian Patteson

 Our second trip of the year was a mid week departure, and we chose to push back a day for weather. It was still a bit choppy on Thursday morning, but easy enough crossing the bar on an ebb tide, and then we headed to the south for a while for the best ride. It's always a bit tougher seeing alcids in a sea, but we had some great looks as Razorbills and Common Murres inshore. From there we eased offshore a few miles and started seeing Dovekies. Puffins were fairly scarce until we got over 30 miles out. We found the best numbers near the edge of the Gulf Stream, which was about 38 miles southeast of the inlet. We also found a few Red Phalaropes out there along with many Bonaparte's Gulls. Big gulls and gannets came to the chum, but not much else. We had a quick look at a pair of Manx Shearwaters. We came back a bit north of where we went out and that stretch was not very productive compared to the waters near Wimble Shoals. I feel like everything is farther south this year, but we haven't been out of Hatteras yet, so I don't know how much so. It's definitely a different situation from last year, when we had lots of alcids out on Platt Shoals and beyond to the east of Oregon Inlet. It will be interesting to see how things change over the next couple of weeks.

Razorbill by Daniel Irons

Razorbill by Daniel Irons

Common Murre by Daniel Irons

Common Murres by Brian Patteson
Atlantic Puffin by Brian Patteson

Red Phalaropes by Daniel Irons

Northern Gannet by Jesse Anderson

Lesser Black-backed Gull by Jesse Anderson

Species List

Black Scoter- 2
Red Phalarope- 20
Atlantic Puffin- 49
Dovekie- 209
Common Murre- 14
Bonaparte's Gull- 349
Herring Gull- 118
Great Black-backed Gull- 50
Lesser Black-backed Gull- 5
Forster's Tern- 3
Red-throated Loon- 302
Common Loon- 18
Manx Shearwater- 2
Northern Gannet- 120

We also saw 3 Common Dolphins, 2 offshore Bottlenose Dolphins, 3 Atlantic Spotted Dolphins, one unidentified large whale, 5 Ocean Sunfish, and several Hammerhead Sharks.

Thanks to all who came out to make the trip possible, and also to our spotters Daniel Irons and Jesse Anderson.

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