Friday, May 31, 2024

Friday 31 May 2024 - Spring Blitz Day 10

It was another breezy day out there with winds from the north and north northeast at over 20 mph for most of our time offshore! And while that was great yesterday, this morning we had some lines of thunderstorms moving offshore that could have pushed some of the birds we were looking for a bit farther. We had a great day even with low diversity and the views of our "usual suspects" were incredible with the seabirds flying in the wind! On the shelf in the morning we had a distant Brown Booby which was a nice addition to our species list for the day, and offshore we had an incredible Black-capped Petrel show...not quite what we saw yesterday, but close! Wilson's Storm-Petrels were out there in good numbers with over 200 counted for the day and we were lucky to have close views of both Leach's and Band-rumpeds. Cory's and Audubon's Shearwaters were also seen well and it seems the shearwater numbers are hopefully increasing as we move into June tomorrow. We have three more days of this run so we'll make the rest of the trips and have our first full daily blitz in a few years.

Check out our trip list and short report here:

And here are a few images from today by Kate Sutherland
Black-capped Petrel with a squid we fed it again today!! Wow!
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel coming in and over the slick
One of the offshore Bottlenose Dolphins as it re-entered the water
And a sampling of flyingfishes!

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Thursday 30 May 2024 - Spring Blitz Day 9

Oh what a little wind from another direction will do for us! We had a great day out there with winds about 20 to 25 mph from the north and some nice current in the Gulf Stream. Black-capped Petrels were incredible and very responsive to the chum making awesome passes by the boat on the two drifts we spent time on with our chum blocks. We had a surprise pass by a Brown Booby on one drift then found our first young Great Shearwater of the season and decided to spend some time with it on the chum...Black-cappeds were definitely interested as well and repeatedly swooped down to investigate. All the while our Wilson's Storm-Petrels were chatting and feeding close to the boat as Captain Brian maneuvered so we could stay with the block. On our inshore tack a curious Fea's Petrel zipped into the slick and made some passes for everyone to have a great look - then it came back for a second pass! Overall a great day! Check out our list at the link below:

Here are a few images I captured of some of the highlights (Kate Sutherland)
Fea's Petrel
Brown Booby
Black-capped Petrel picking up a squid we decided to feed it
Band-rumped Storm-Petrels
And some of our really cooperative Wilson's!

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Wednesday 29 May 2024 - Spring Blitz Day 8

Well, there was a little breeze out there today, but not nearly what we had yesterday. Plus we've had a lot of westerly wind this spring. This keeps diversity low on these trips because some of the species passing by don't get close enough for us to find them offshore. We had a great day regardless with incredible views and nice light in the morning! Black-capped Petrels made a nice appearance and even some close passes for us and Band-rumped Storm-Petrels did the same. Cory's and Audubon's Shearwaters were seen well and we had at least a few quick passes by Scopoli's, but none came in to the slick to feed. Wilson's Storm-Petrels were around in good numbers and it was great to see flocks sitting on the water offshore plus a nice group on a condition as we reached and crossed the shelf break in the afternoon.

Trip list and report can be found here:

And here are a few photos from the day by Kate Sutherland
Atlantic Cory's Shearwater coming in to check out the squid we had out as a teaser (no hook, just to attract them!).
Black-capped Petrels
Band-rumped Storm-Petrels - molting top, not molting bottom
Wilson's Storm-Petrels
And a Common Tern that came to feed in the slick!

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Tuesday 28 May 2024 - Spring Blitz Day 7

Every day is different out there in the Gulf Stream! And it is so true. Conditions today were very different with winds from the south southwest anywhere from 10 to 20 mph and skies were stormy, to overcast, to cloudy, to partly cloudy! We had some current out there today and we worked with that for a productive time offshore. Our usual suspects were superstars, and though they always are, today it seemed the Black-cappeds were invigorated by the weather! We were able to finish with a nice species list and added nice views of a Bridled Tern to our spring list this afternoon on a Sargassum line out there! There were also a number of Mahi mahi (Atlantic Dolphinfish) along this line as well and leader Daniel Irons hooked a few for participants to reel in! What a day...

Check out our trip list and short report here:

All images today are by me, Kate Sutherland.
The Bridled Tern!
And here are a few of Black-capped Petrels
Checking out our teaser behind the boat!
Band-rumped Storm-Petrels
Wilson's Storm-Petrel
Atlantic Cory's Shearwater
And one of the Mahi mahi (Atlantic Dolphinfish) we caught this afternoon! Thanks Daniel!!

Monday, May 27, 2024

Monday 27 May 2024 - Spring Blitz Day 6

Some wind really gave us a boost today and the birds were flying much more than yesterday! We had great views of everything that visited us in the slick and even those who just came for a few seconds to check us out like the Brown Booby and Arctic Tern! Wilson's Storm-Petrels were attentive in the slick all day and we even recruited a Leach's Storm-Petrel this afternoon. Cory's, Scopoli's, and Audubon's all made a nice showing but the highlight for me, as usual, was seeing the Black-capped Petrels in their element. It's always fun to watch them run in the wind, these "winged runners." The trip report with list is linked below and here are a few images from the day as well. - Kate

Let's begin with some Black-capped Petrels (by Kate Sutherland)
Light form
Dark form
Then the Brown Booby (by Ed Corey)
And the Arctic Tern (by Kate Sutherland)
A record shot of the Leach's Storm-Petrel (by Kate Sutherland)
One of the super cooperative Audubon's Shearwaters (by Ed Corey)
And a nice Atlantic Cory's Shearwater (by Ed Corey)
You can just never have enough images of Wilson's Storm-Petrels, so here are a few I captured today (by Kate Sutherland)