May Pelagic Results 1994 - 1998
As you will see by studying the following charts, each trip is different, and even consecutive trips may produce very different bird lists, even when they visit the same localities offshore. Where there were hundreds of birds one day, there may be only a handful the next. Birds follow food offshore, and when their food source disappears, they do too. With this in mind, we cannot overstress the value of signing up for more than one pelagic trip when you come to the Outer Banks, particularly if you do not have many opportunities to visit the area. While it is rare, we are occasionally weathered out, and a second trip is good insurance for getting offshore during your visit. But even when the weather is good, another trip means that you have a better chance to see the birds that you want to see, particularly if you are looking for the less common species. Remember also, when you look at the following charts, that just because one or two Band-rumped Storm-Petrels were seen on one day does not mean that everyone on the boat saw them to their satisfaction. We always do our best to get everyone onboard "onto the birds", but in some cases the birds fly away quickly. While we do use fast boats and, in some cases, we can successfully pursue fleeing birds, there are some days when the sea conditions limit our movements and ability to get closer. With these things in mind, don't be discouraged, but do have realistic expectations before you get on the boat. And don't forget to study beforehand; pelagic birds often fly by for a close look, but they may not stay long enough for the trip leaders to point out all of their field marks.
It is worth noting that during the 1990s we did not chum as extensively as we do now. A higher percentage of the gadfly petrels we saw back then were seen more distantly or fleetingly than is generally the case now, when they often come to investigate our fish oil slicks. We are probably also a bit more confident in identifying them nowadays too.
May 14 - May 27
|Trinidade Petrel||2||1||1 prob.||1|
|Fea's Petrel||2 prob.||1||1 prob.||1 prob.|
|Manx Shearwater||1 prob.|
|South Polar Skua||1||2|
|Sterna sp. (white)||12|
May 27 - May 31
|Trinidade Petrel||1 prob.||3||1 prob.||1 prob.|
|Fea's Petrel||1 prob.||1 prob.||1||1|
|South Polar Skua||1||1|
|Sterna sp. (white)|
Ö = Seen but numbers not recorded.
Prob. = Probable, thought to be this species, but due to distance, lighting conditions, brevity of observation or a combination of these factors, not identified to species with 100% certainty (i.e., Trinidade Petrel prob. = dark Pterodroma, Fea's Petrel prob. = P. feae/madeira complex).
HNC= Hatteras, NC; NENC= North East NC; WNC = Wanchese, NC; VB = Virginia Beach, VA