Preview of 2015 Texas Pelagic Plans

“What’s new and different for 2015?” After years of experimenting with different headings for the South Padre Island Texas Pelagic trips we have settled on a due easterly course to reach the shelf edge in fewer miles and quicker time. The trade off is that on days with rougher sea conditions we have more spray on the windward side of the boat and use more fuel but reaching the shelf edge quicker means more time in DEEP water so it is worth it. In 2015 we will schedule 6 trips, more trips than ever before. A possible 7th trip may be run prior to the RGVBF if there is sufficient demand, to be determined later in the season.  The most trips successfully run in one year was 5 in 2004 by the World Birding Center. It is no coincidence that this was following the Sept 2003 Yellow-nosed Albatross find!  The schedule is not yet finalized and I am not yet taking reservations. We will experiment with two extended 16 hour trips to explore farther out than ever before all the way to the Camel’s Head. The Osprey will be newly refurbished for next year and according to the owner it should be much more comfortable and will offer more amenities. The new osprey will be Coast Guard rated for 100 miles and 70 people. The rear upper deck has been expanded with passenger seating added. It is open and uncovered for superb viewing. Floors are carpeted inside the dry cabin. All exterior decks are rubberized. Will seat 30 inside. New 5-ton A/C Restrooms with A/C Onboard WIFI communication for 2 leaders to broadcast to PA system from anywhere on the boat to speakers which are now located on all sides of the boat. Snack and Drink Bar- Now what will birders do with a bar? Take a Look at the Newly Renovated Osprey After such an exciting finish to...

S. Padre Island TEXAS PELAGIC Oct 25, 2014 Trip Report:

Background: Since Texas Pelagics started in 1992 there have only been 4 Texas Pelagic trips run in October. It had been 10 years since a Texas Pelagic had been run in October, the last one being on 10/1/2004. On that trip we found Texas’ only accepted record of a South Polar Skua. There have however been 4 November trips since 2004. The sparse pelagic coverage at this time of year provides us with only limited data on what species could be seen in the late fall in offshore Texas waters. The primary reason that more Texas Pelagics aren’t run in the fall is that seas are often uncooperative (code for too rough) during the fall, winter and spring months, making a calm weather window tougher to encounter on an weekend where the trips are planned way ahead of time. And this October proved no different. All week long I watched the weather forecasts with much trepidation. First on Monday a disturbance in the Gulf of Campeche formed and then developed into Tropical Depression NINE on Wednesday. The forecasts still predicted it to calm down in the Gulf of Mexico off of South Padre Island by Saturday as the depression was expected to move east over Yucatan and then into the Caribbean by Thursday night. Fortunately this whole weather mess dissipated over Thursday night and by Saturday at 4:00am the seas had really improved. It was dead calm on Saturday morning in the dark at the dock. As we cleared the jetties just after 6 am it was probably as rough as we would see it all day. It was hard to tell in the dark but seas were still in the 3 foot range. It continued to calm down and by dawn we were cruising in calmer 2 foot seas. By the time we reached the deepwater Gulf of...