S Padre Island; August 27, 2016 TRIP REPORT

We departed the dock at 3:00 am with no wind and enjoyed a gentle ride in 1 to 2 ft seas out to the shelf edge. Most birders slept (or tried to) wherever they could find a spot on board until first light. As the skies glowed orange than pink in anticipation of the sun we anxiously awaited our first pelagic species. Shortly after a ~7:00 am sunrise the bunch of the bow riding birders saw the green flash! From the Shelf edge out to the Camel’s head Seamount is about a 35 mile cruise, still another 3 hours in the Osprey. During this time we only had a few scattered birds, Cory’s Shearwaters, Frigatebird, Bridled Terns, Black Terns, various migrants and Atlantic Spotted and Bottlenose Dolphins. We enjoyed great weather, calm 1 to 2 foot sea swell all day long with very light winds for much of the day leaving the seas that pleasant glassy look with hardly a wind ripple all morning and early afternoon. As we neared the west slope of the Camel’s Head I spotted a very distant tern and after watching it for a bit decided there was maybe a flock of terns a couple miles south. We turned the Osprey south and into Mexican waters 2 miles towards the tern flock and the one tern turned into 10 terns, than 20, then 40, then 60! As we got closer we could also see shearwaters flying around low to the water, and the splashing of a school of tuna. Then whales started to blow and 3 Sperm Whales joined the fray. Here in Mexican waters we had a huge flock of 82 Sooty Terns, 14 Cory’s Shearwaters, 10 Audubon’s Shearwaters, 3 Sperm Whales and a tuna school. We followed these whales and flocks around for a good 45 minutes until they gradually dissipated or...