Monday, July 2, 2012

Great Shearwater

Pete Dunne's monday morning walk at The Meadows turned up a nice surprise today with a Great Shearwater cruising the calm waters off the South Cape May Beach. A good hour later, the bird was still present and feeding actively among all the gulls and terns that were busy catching fish in The Rips off Coral Avenue. Oh for a small boat so as to be out there to get real frame-filling shots of this fabulous seabird! While we were watching, a small fishing boat was cruising back and forth among the birds and passing within just a few yards of the shearwater!

Great Shearwater (left) with Laughing Gull for size comparison. It is amazing just how big a lens you really need to get close enough for good shots of birds - or how close you have to be to the bird! This shearwater looked magnificent through a scope and at times I could even see the sun glint in its eye - and yet a 400mm lens wasn't really enough! Here though, you can see the dark-capped look, pale neck collar and typical underwing pattern of a Great Shearwater [photo by Mike Crewe].

From above, the same head pattern is visible on the Great Shearwater and it also shows a narrow white rump patch, dark tail and a dark outer wing with contrastingly pale secondaries [photo by Mike Crewe].