South Padre Island TEXAS PELAGIC September 06, 2008

Aboard   the Osprey II

Subject: South Padre Island pelagic results 6 Sep 08

Date:  Sun, 7 Sep 2008 04:26:20 GMT

From:  Brad Mckinney

Good  evening,

Like the July pelagic, this South Padre Island pelagic went down to wire. With a  forecast of mild seas just days after landfall of Hurricane Gustav in the   northern Gulf, the pelagic crew left the dock with high hopes. At first light a distant Cory’s Shearwater was spotted just a mile or two from the jetties.   Blue water was close in and flying fish were erupting in large numbers.   Things were looking good. Although we saw coastal terns (Black, Royal,   Sandwich, and Common) near a shrimp boat on the way out to the deepwater curve, it was not until well past noon that we got our first good looks at a   shearwater, our only Audubon’s Shearwater of the trip.

After returning to the relatively shallow waters of the continental shelf in early afternoon, things finally started to pick up. After close up views of a Bridled Tern at 1400, we made our way to three shrimp boats. The first two shrimp boats held more Royal, Sandwich, and Common Terns. After circling the last shrimp boat, a smallish jaeger was spotted bullying a Black Tern before wheeling falcon-like in pursuit of other nearby terns. The Long-tailed Jaeger allowed for close, extended views. Not satisfied with harassing birds its own size, the jaeger boldly dive-bombed a much larger Masked Booby. It was kind   of like watching a feisty Chihuahua chasing a Great Dane.

Shortly thereafter, we had close views of five Bridled Terns, which are rarely seen so close to shore (about 25 miles out). Just minutes before reaching the  jetties, we had excellent looks at a Cory’s Shearwater of the Mediterranean race (Scolopi’s Shearwater), which shows more white in underwing than the   Atlantic race. (Although both races occur in the western Gulf of Mexico, it is believed that Atlantic Cory’s is more common). The shearwater was a nice way to end the day. Thanks to Eric Carpenter who organized another great trip. Looking forward to the November 9 pelagic organized by the Rio Grande   Birding Festival in Harlingen where there are still spaces available.

Brad  McKinney Rancho Viejo

Seabird list for 6 Sep 08:

Cory’s Shearwater (2)

Audubon’s Shearwater (1)

Unidentified Shearwater (2)

Masked Booby (2)

Long-tailed Jaeger (1)

Bridled Tern (6)

Maybe  three passerines in deepwater, including Louisiana Waterthrush.

OCEANOGRAPHIC CONDITIONS for Sept. 6 2008

seasurface_20080906

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