South Padre Island TEXAS PELAGIC June 20, 2003

Aboard the Osprey II

Subject: 20 June 2003 SPI   pelagic results

From: World Birding Center

Date:  Mon, 30 Jun 2003 16:55:32

The following is a brief synopsis of the World Birding Center Gulf of Mexico  pelagic that left South Padre Island Texas on 20 June 2003. The conditions for the 12-hour trip to the Colt 45 reef (3,000+ feet depth) were excellent, with light winds and “oily smooth” seas running 1-2 feet throughout the day. Blue oceanic water with patches of sargassum was found just offshore, and surprisingly, Bridled Tern (1), Band-rumped Storm-Petrel (1), and Pantropical Spotted Dolphins (2) were spotted within sight of land at a depth of only 120 feet!

Best birds of the day were two Leach’s Storm-Petrels, both found in relatively  shallow waters (145 feet, 500 feet). Two of the twenty-six Band-rumped Storm-Petrels were also found in relatively shallow waters (250 feet, 300 feet), with the rest occurring in deepwater (3,000 + water depth). The   largest concentration of band-rumps was 15 birds. A little surprising was not seeing a Masked Booby, but June can be kind of hit and miss with Masked Booby (and the lack of shrimp or sport fishing boats didn’t help any).

The  biggest “mixed flock” of the day consisted of (10) Bridled and (3)   Sooty Terns and (3) Audubon’s Shearwaters working a deepwater tuna school. In addition to (pelagic) bottlenose and pantropical spotted dolphins, three sea turtle species were seen as well: leatherback (1), hawksbill (1), and   loggerhead (1).

Below, is a list of pelagic species seen on 20 June 2003:

Band-rumped Storm-Petrel- 26

LEACH’S STORM-PETREL- 2 (Texas Review Species)

Audubon’s Shearwater- 4

BRIDLED TERN- 14 (Texas Review Species)

Sooty Tern- 8

Hopefully something good will show up on the July 24 (Brownsville International Birding Festival) and September 26 (World Birding Center) pelagics.

Brad McKinney,

World Birding Center Project Office,

Mission, Texas

Link to Photo Gallery: All photography copyrighted ©Garett Hodne 2003



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