Aboard   the Chip XI
Report Transcribed from   1996 Texas Deepwater Pelagic Trips NewsletterCopyrighted   By: Dwight Peake and Mark Elwonger Audubons Abound

Twenty-eight   birders boarded the Chip XI at Clark’s Marina and all were delighted to find   nearly flat seas as we entered the Gulf. As dawn arrived, five Frigatebirds   provided magnificent views from only a few feet away as Gary Giessel, our   captain, eased the boat up to the oil platform where the birds were roosting.   Black Terns, Royal Terns, and bottle-nosed dolphins livened the usually less   interesting continental shelf passage. Soon, Atlantic Spotted Dolphins   signaled our entry into pelagic water and the first of seven Masked Boobies   was seen shortly thereafter.

The   next several hours provided good birding for even those accustomed to   Monterey Bay and North Carolina pelagic trips. Tuna schools were easily found   and the Audubon’s Shearwaters resting on and flying low over the water and   Sooty and Bridled Terns a little higher over them were quite entertaining as   they swirled around in a feeding frenzy, and two different Whale Sharks were   hard to ignore. Although we missed Leach’s Storm-Petrel for the first time in   the two-year history of these trips, Band-rumped Storm-Petrels, as usual,   passed the boat for close views. All seven pelagic bird species, including   Cory’s Shearwaters sitting on the water, allowed great viewing opportunities.

When   we returned to port, most of the participants feasted at Clark’s Seafood   Restaurant and reminisced about the day’s adventure, gloating over the 65+   Sooty Terns, the then state one-day record for Audubon’s Shearwater (37), and   the other birds and animals seen during the trip.

Species Seen:

Cory’s   Shearwater – 3

Audubon’s   Shearwater – 37

Band-rumped   Storm-Petrel – 8

Masked   Booby – 8

Bridled   Tern – 12

Sooty   Tern – 65

Atlantic   Spotted Dolphins



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