PORT O’CONNOR PELAGIC TRIP REPORT I – May 28, 1994

Aboard   the Chip XI
Report Transcribed from   1995 Texas Deepwater Pelagic Trips NewsletterCopyrighted   By: Dwight Peake and Mark ElwongerFirst Port O’Connor   Pelagic Trip Smashes RecordsThe   first deep-water Texas birding trip accessible to the general birding public   departed from the Hustler Marine Dock promptly at 4:15 AM on May 28, 1994 and   sailed into ornithological history. Crossing the 50 mile Continental Shelf   was unproductive but just as a lynch mob formed around the trip leaders, the   day’s first Storm-Petrels flushed ahead of the boat at 9:30 AM. As we continued to waters as deep as 3,000 feet, we were entertained with an almost   constant parade of unusual sea creatures and rare birds. A Bridled Tern   sitting on nearby debris, a large school of Yellow-finned Tuna, a pod of   dolphins breaching to join us and ride our bow wave, a Whale Shark passing   right along the boat! The time spent in deep water passed too quickly as we   went from one spectacle to the next. Nick Jackson, already with a Texas bird   list over 500, added five state birds! Al Valentine added number 737 to his  life list with Band-rumped Storm-Petrel. Our trip list, which included a  Northern Waterthrush and a Bobolink (which took a half-hour break on the boat), also included five species previously documented fewer than 20 times   (2 less than ten times, 1 less than 5 times) in Texas: Bridled Tern (18),   Audubon’s Shearwater (16), Greater Shearwater, and Leach’s (4) and   Band-rumped Storm-Petrel (26)! Our sightings included two Whale Sharks (the world’s largest fish) and four species of marine mammals. We returned to Port   O’Connor after a beautiful Gulf sunset on time, tired, and elated for participating in the best Gulf of Mexico Pelagic trip ever!Species Seen:(Black-capped   Petrel – 1) confirmed later by photographs taken by Phyllis Frank. The photos   circulated among experts on the East Coast who positively identified it as a   Black-capped Petrel (Pterodroma hasitata) instead of a Greater Shearwater as   originally thought.Audubon’s   Shearwater – 16Leach’s   Storm-Petrel – 4Band-rumped   Storm-Petrel – 26

Bridled   Tern – 18

Northern   Waterthrush – 1

Bobolink   – 1 f.

OCEANOGRAPHIC CONDITIONS:

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