Spring Pelagic Results 2003

Reading The Past Trip Results

While the past trips lists give a good idea of what to expect on a given date, one must remember that these are snapshots of several days taken over a span of many years. They do not tell the whole story. Some years may better for certain species and the Gulf Stream may have been atypically close or far offshore on certain days. These trips do not take into account our changes in tactics over the years either. I feel that we have been more successful in recent years with bringing the rare gadfly petrels close to the boat with chum. This is most evident when looking at our spring trip lists, but also consider how few trips we have run in June or July compared to May. Those months could be just as productive for Fea's and Bermuda Petrels, but we don't yet have the data to determine that. Just because we have not run many trips in June or July is not because it is a bad time for the birds, it has merely been a harder timer to recruit the birders. Now that we have our own boat, our per trip overhead is low enough for us to run more trips than ever, and thus explore the waters in early May, late June, or early July for example.  

What the trip lists do show us though is that you really increase your odds by going on two or more trips. It is quite possible to go out and see five Band-rumped Storm-Petrels on one day and 50 the next, and how many weekends do we see Herald or Fea's Petrels on consecutive days?

Our trips in spring 2003 were about as good as they get.  We had originally planned to run more trips from Hatteras, but a breakdown there on May 26 caused us to lose three of our trips.  Fortunately we were able to re-book two of those on the Country Girl, and we had some incredible luck.  In addition to the Pterodroma "Grand Slam" off Oregon Inlet on May 24, we had an unprecedented number of Red-billed Tropicbirds in May and June.  Fea's Petrel was well seen on a number of trips, and the bird of the year- an apparent European Storm-Petrel- Hydrobates pelagicus- was photographed on our impromptu May 27 trip, though I did not discover it until going through my pictures weeks later.  If the winds are right, late May tend to be the peak time for diversity on these trips.  2003 was no exception- 20 species of pelagic seabirds were seen between two boats on May 24 alone!  -BP

Friday, May 23, 2003

Manteo Country Girl

Trinidade (Herald) Petrel

2

Black-capped Petrel

23

Coryís Shearwater

71

Greater Shearwater

5

Sooty Shearwater

26

Audubonís Shearwater

31

Wilsonís Storm-Petrel

414

Leachís Storm-Petrel

19

Band-rumped Storm-Petrel

10

South Polar Skua

1

Pomarine Jaeger

6

Parasitic Jaeger

1

Bridled Tern

1

 Other Species Seen:
Common Loon  1
Northern Gannet  595
Common Tern  11
Sanderling  8
Red Knot  1  

Atlantic Spotted Dolphin  15-20
Bottlenose Dolphin  19
Dolpin sp.  2

Herald Petrel

 Herald Petrel

    South Polar Skua

Back to Top

Saturday May 24, 2003

Hatteras Miss Hatteras

Black-capped Petrel

46

Coryís Shearwater

156

Greater Shearwater

14

Sooty Shearwater

6

Manx Shearwater

2

Audubonís Shearwater

37

Wilsonís Storm-Petrel

350

Leachís Storm-Petrel

5

Band-rumped Storm-Petrel

5

White-tailed Tropicbird

1

Red-necked Phalarope

24

Pomarine Jaeger

8

Parasitic Jaeger

1

Arctic Tern

12

Bridled Tern

2

Sooty Tern

56+

Other Species Seen:
Common Loon  3
Northern Gannet  10
Laughing Gull  1
Roseate Tern  1
Common Tern  ~25
Least Tern  ~15
Black Tern  1
Black-bellied Plover  1
Ruddy Turnstone  14
Semipalmated Sandpiper  1
peep  sp.  6
Northern Waterthrush  1

Mesoplodon sp.  2
Atlantic Spotted Dolphin  6
Bottlenose Dolphin  7
Dolphin sp.  4
Loggerhead Turtle  1
Atlantic Long-billed Spearfish  1 (caught & released )
Scalloped Hammerhead

        Back to Top

Saturday May 24, 2003

Manteo Country Girl

Trinidade (Herald) Petrel

1

Feaís Petrel

1

Bermuda Petrel

1

Black-capped Petrel

40

Coryís Shearwater

42

Greater Shearwater

41

Sooty Shearwater

6

Audubonís Shearwater

25

Wilsonís Storm-Petrel

487

Leachís Storm-Petrel

4

Band-rumped Storm-Petrel

3

Red-billed Tropicbird

1

Red-necked Phalarope

30

Pomarine Jaeger

3

Bridled Tern

83

 Other Species Seen:
Common Loon  1
Northern Gannet  49
Forsterís Tern  1
Common Tern  10
Semipalmated Sandpiper  1

Back to Top

Sunday May 25, 2003

Hatteras Miss Hatteras

Black-capped Petrel

52

Coryís Shearwater

132

Greater Shearwater

15

Sooty Shearwater

5

Manx Shearwater

2

Audubonís Shearwater

42

Wilsonís Storm-Petrel

353

Leachís Storm-Petrel

1

Band-rumped Storm-Petrel

3

Red-billed Tropicbird

1

Red-necked Phalarope

3

Pomarine Jaeger

4

Long-tailed Jaeger

1

Arctic Tern

7

Bridled Tern

1

Sooty Tern

34

 Other Species Seen:
Common Loon  seen
Northern Gannet  seen
Laughing Gull  1
Roseate Tern  1
Common Tern  seen
Forsterís Tern  1
peep sp.  12
Barn Swallow  2
Blackburnian Warbler  1

Clymene Dolphin  150-200
Bottlenose Dolphin  7+
Loggerhead Turtle  1
Atlantic Manta  1
Mahi Mahi  2 caught 1 seen

Arctic Tern

 Roseate Tern

Clymene Dolphin

Back to Top

Sunday May 25, 2003

Manteo Country Girl  

Black-capped Petrel

44

Coryís Shearwater

65

Greater Shearwater

23

Sooty Shearwater

8

Audubonís Shearwater

26

Wilsonís Storm-Petrel

328

Leachís Storm-Petrel

5

Band-rumped Storm-Petrel

3

Red-necked Phalarope

20

Pomarine Jaeger

4

Bridled Tern

2

Sooty Tern

3

Dark Tern sp.

8

Other Species Seen:
Common Loon  1
Northern Gannet  8
Laughing Gull  1
Royal Tern  4
Sandwich Tern  2
Roseate Tern  2
Common Tern  25
Dowitcher  1
Barn Swallow  1

Back to Top

Monday May 26, 2003

Manteo Country Girl

Feaís Petrel

1

Black-capped Petrel

32

Coryís Shearwater

48

Greater Shearwater

15

Audubonís Shearwater

33

Wilsonís Storm-Petrel

315

Band-rumped Storm-Petrel

3

Oceanodroma sp.

2

Red-necked Phalarope

5

Pomarine Jaeger

4

jaeger sp.

2

Arctic Tern

2

Bridled Tern

7

Sooty Tern

18

 Other Species Seen:
Common Loon  3
Northern Gannet  39
Laughing Gull  1
Royal Tern  4
Sandwich Tern  3
Common Tern  9
Least Tern  2
Red Knot  8
Great Blue Heron  3
Barn Swallow  1

Sperm Whale  6
Bottlenose Dolphin  25

Back to Top

Tuesday May 27, 2003

Manteo Country Girl

Feaís Petrel

2

Black-capped Petrel

63+

Coryís Shearwater

60+

Greater Shearwater

27

Sooty Shearwater

8+

Audubonís Shearwater

35

Wilsonís Storm-Petrel

549

Leachís Storm-Petrel

12

Band-rumped Storm-Petrel

19

European Storm-Petrel?  1

Red-billed Tropicbird

2

Arctic Tern

2

Sooty Tern

3

Other Species Seen:
Common Loon  3
Northern Gannet  seen
Gannet/booby sp.  1
Common Tern  seen

Mesoplodon sp  1
Cuvierís Beaked Whale  1 female
Bottlonose Dolphin  30+

Black-capped Petrel

Black-capped Petrel

Leader Butch Pearce "Feedin' the birds"

Cory's Shearwater

Greater Shearwater

Leach's Storm-Petrel

Red-billed Tropicbird

Red-billed Tropicbird

Wilson's Storm-Petrels

Back to Top

Friday May 30, 2003

Manteo Country Girl

Feaís Petrel

1

Black-capped Petrel

58

Coryís Shearwater

112

Greater Shearwater

8

Sooty Shearwater

1

Audubonís Shearwater

26

Wilsonís Storm-Petrel

137

Band-rumped Storm-Petrel

4

Long-tailed Jaeger

1

Arctic Tern

1-2

Bridled Tern

6

Sooty Tern

1

 Other Species Seen:
Northern Gannet  4+
Laughing Gull  2
Common Tern  5
Least Tern  9
Sanderling  2

Sperm Whale  1
Bottlenose Dolphin  39+
Dolphin sp.  32
Mahi Mahi  caught 10-11

Fea's Petrel

Back to Top

Saturday May 31, 2003

Manteo Country Girl

Trinidade (Herald) Petrel

2

Black-capped Petrel

52

Coryís Shearwater

54

Greater Shearwater

1

Sooty Shearwater

1

Audubonís Shearwater

6-7

Wilsonís Storm-Petrel

137

Leachís Storm-Petrel

3

Band-rumped Storm-Petrel

8

Bridled Tern

5

 Other Species Seen:
Laughing Gull  1
Common Tern  2
Red Knot  1
Sanderling  8
shorebird sp.  1

  Sperm Whale  1
Mesoplodon sp.  2-3

 

Herald Petrel

Herald Petrel

Herald Petrel

Sperm Whale

Saturday June 7, 2003

Hatteras Miss Hatteras

Herald Petrel (dark morph)

1

Black-capped Petrel

54

Cory's Shearwater

87

Greater Shearwater

15

Manx Shearwater

1

Audubonís Shearwater

34

Wilsonís Storm-Petrel

253

Leachís Storm-Petrel

10+

Band-rumped Storm-Petrel

12+

Red-billed Tropicbird

1ad.

Pomarine Jaeger     1

jaeger sp.

1

Bridled Tern     2

 Other Species Seen:
False Killer Whale- 7+; Bottlenose Dolphin 5+

Sunday June 8, 2003

Hatteras Miss Hatteras

Black-capped Petrel

26

Coryís Shearwater

65

Greater Shearwater

20

Audubonís Shearwater

63

Wilsonís Storm-Petrel

204

Band-rumped Storm-Petrel

0

Leachís Storm-Petrel

2

Pomarine Jaeger

1

 Other Species Seen:
Bottlenose Dolphin- 14

 

Back to Top