Texas Pelagics 2017 Schedule Update.

Hi  Pelagic Fanatics, Registrations for this year’s Texas Pelagics trips have been very slow so far this year.  I guess I need to do a lot more reminding our seabirding enthusiasts that the time is at hand to make your plans for this summer’s Texas Pelagics trips. At this point we are however far too undersubscribed to be able to run the July 22nd Texas Pelagic that was planned from Port Aransas, so this trip has been cancelled. I have also decided to make the August 26th trip from South Padre Island a 12 hour trip instead of a 16 hour adventure. The updated schedule can be found here: http://texaspelagics.com/2017-schedule/  WHY GO ON A TEXAS PELAGIC? Short answer – they are a lot of FUN!! If you talk to any of the Texas Pelagic leaders and regulars they’ll probably tell you some of the most amazing bird and wildlife encounters they’ve ever had in the state of Texas occurred on a Texas Pelagic.  Our experiences from 2015 and 2016 indicate that with more frequent coverage by pelagic trips we are much more likely to have a few exceptional Pelagic birding days in the season. This is probably due improving our odds of hitting favorable current, wind and sea conditions for seabirds that occur every so often in the deep Gulf off South Padre.   If you’ve never been on a Texas Pelagic this is the year you should try one or two. If it’s been a long time since you’ve been on a Texas Pelagic come back this year and see how much fun they can be. If you’re afraid of seasickness try using the Transderm Scop patch (prescription needed) and enjoy a day at sea with our great pelagic leaders and groups. These trips are also a great way to spend a hot summer weekend out birding where it...

Black-capped Petrel Emergency Chase Trip Nov 20, 2016

Hi Texbirders and Pelagic Fans, Over this past weekend on Nov 5th while on a 48-hour tuna fishing trip Jon McIntyre photographed 2 separate Black-capped Petrels far offshore of Port Aransas. Jon initially identified these two photographed birds as Great Shearwaters in the field and didn’t realize they were Black-capped Petrels until reviewing his photographs. It is possible there were a few other BCPE’s out there that were not photographed and Jon admits he may have misidentified as Great Shearwaters as well. This very rare petrel has only been seen two other times in Texas on Pelagic trips on 5/28/1994 and 7/26/1997. These recent sightings are significant in that it may indicate some weather or food event that has brought a few of these birds at least into Texas Gulf of Mexico waters.” I have organized a Texas Pelagic trip for this Sunday Nov 20th. This will be an 18 hour trip departing from Port Aransas at 3:00 am and returning at 9:00 pm. The cost is $350 maximum / person depending on how many people sign up. It will be aboard the Kingfisher boat at Deep Sea Headquarters, the same boat we used for our 16 hour Texas Pelagic on July 23rd this past summer. With the 25 participants already signed-up the fare is $350 / person. I can lower the price if more people than that decide to come. With 27 people the fare will be $325, etc With 30 people the fare is $290. This is an incredibly exciting and unprecedented opportunity to chase an exceptionally rare seabird for Texas. An opportunity not likely to be repeated for a long time, if ever, since it’s been 20 years since the last Texas sighting of a Black-capped Petrel.  If you are interested please email, text or call me as soon as possible.  More information about preparing for...

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...

Port Aransas July 23, 2016 TRIP REPORT

Share The July 23rd Texas Pelagic was the first trip from Port Aransas since 2003 over 13 years ago and it was FABULOUS! This was our first time onboard the Kingfisher boat in Port Aransas and I knew right off the bat that the boat exceeded my expectations. As soon as we cleared the harbor Captain Marvin throttled up the Kingfisher and we could all tell the Kingfisher was moving faster than we usually do. My GPS confirmed that we were exceeding 16 knots just as advertised. That’s only a couple knots faster than we we’re used to but it is definitely noticeable on the water, and over the course of 16 hours it means we can cover a lot more water and make it to the shelf edge faster. Calm 2 foot seas made for an easy and fast ride towards the shelf edge. In the predawn hours a distant thunderhead flashed bright with lightening and rain storms were off in the distance but as the morning progressed these all dissipated. We were already over 40 nautical miles offshore around daybreak and David and I were betting on what would be our first seabird of the day. Neither of us were right though as it turned out to be a Leach’s Storm-Petrel at 6:53am. Then the first flying fish started scattering from the boats bow and by 7:24 am we had a nice flock of 12 Cory’s Shearwaters obligingly sitting on the water. From all the photo’s already posted to the Texas Pelagics FaceBook group I appears that most or all of these were Scopoli’s Shearwater which is likely to be a future split from the nominate Cory’s Shearwater that is more typically found off the East Coast of the US. The seas were gradually getting smoother as the morning progressed and remained in the less than 2...

S Padre Is June 4, 2016 TRIP REPORT:

Share We kicked off the 2016 Texas Pelagic season from South Padre Island with about 2-3 foot seas as we cleared the jetties. There was a large squall line about 30 miles to the north of us that was moving away from our location. To our north lightening flashed in the far distance from the huge line of thunderstorms that extended from north of Port Mansfield hundreds of miles to past Houston according to weather radar. This was part of the same huge low pressure system that has been rotating counterclockwise over Texas for more than a week bringing record rainfalls and flooding to large parts of the state. This was fortunate for the time being but the trip was still somewhat weather challenged. As sunrise approached we found ourselves in a half and half weather pattern. To the south of us the skies were clear. As we progressed eastward towards the shelf edge the skies to the west of us gradually clouded up as another band of storms formed gradually heading in our direction. The only birds we saw over the shelf were a few Royal Terns and a couple Black Terns. No shrimpers were present because the shrimp season hadn’t started yet, so there was little reason to linger anywhere over the shelf. We didn’t spot our first seabird, a Band-rumped Storm-Petrel, until we were well beyond the shelf edge at 10:14 am. This was followed by another half dozen storm-petrels some of which were close enough to ID as Leach’s and Band-rumped, while others stayed just a bit too far out to be sure if they were either Leach’s or Band-rumpeds. We had a bit of excitement at 10:24 when a wheeling and arcing shearwater put on its best imitation of a Pterodroma petrel. The winds had starting gusting to over 20 mph then as a...

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