Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Audubon's + Other Shearwaters, Storm-petrels and Loons Offshore

Yesterday on a tuna fishing expedition with Mike Fritz, mostly 20-35 miles more or less east of Avalon, we encountered several pelagic species of interest.

For the first 12 or so miles out of Cold Spring Inlet it was pretty quiet, with only a few Wilson's Storm Petrels. 12 miles out we bumped into two Common Loons, swimming together. Interestingly, on the way back in we went past almost the exact spot and the two were still there.

Beginning about 20 miles offshore we began encountering more storm-petrels and the first shearwaters. Cory's was the most common shearwater on the day, with about 10 of them. We also observed 2 Greater Shearwaters, and of most interest, 2 Audubon's Shearwaters, both of which came over to investigate the boat for nice, close looks. Both Sibley's Birds of Cape May (1997) and Birds of New Jersey (1999) considered Audubon's a very rare visitor summer and early fall, though they are almost certainly annual and can occur in fair numbers. Many reports of this warm-water species are within 40 miles of shore - our first was 20-25 miles out.

Bird life was not abundant out there on this trip, just a few Laughing Gulls and Common Terns and a couple distant swallows (sp.), in addition to the species above.

No comments: