Completed Texas Pelagic Trips in 2014

Eric Carpenter is taking a well deserved break from organizing the Texas Pelagics this year so I have volunteered to organize them for this year.

I am pleased to announce that there will be 4 Texas Pelagic birding trips out of South Padre Island this summer & fall.  The dates for the trips are:

These are not-for-profit trips that I am organizing where the cost per participant is $150.

I would like to encourage anyone who is interested in these trips to contact me for more details and reservations soon as possible. We need to have enough participants two and half weeks in advance of each trip to ensure we can cover the cost of the charter.

These trips leave from near the southern tip of South Padre Island, aboard the Osprey (   The good folks at Osprey Cruises have been involved with Texas Pelagics for over 14 years and their captains are familiar with where we need to go and also are quite good at spotting birds with us.   These are all-day trips, leaving the docks at 6am, and returning 12 hours later at 6pm. We motor out to deep-water (takes about 4 hours to get there), spend the next several hours working the area just off the shelf, and then return back to dry land by around 6pm.  Leaders for these three trips will include Eric Carpenter, Mary Gustafson, Brad McKinney, Petra Hockey, Randy Pinkston, John O’Brien, Dwight Peake and myself.  Each of these leaders are passionate about Texas Pelagics and have more experience on that anyone else in the offshore Texas Gulf of Mexico.

These Gulf of Mexico trips don’t yield gaudy numbers of birds but we seem to always make up for it with a high quality sighting or discovery. In the last few years, some of the better birds have included Red-billed Tropicbird, Great Shearwater, and Sooty Shearwater.  One trip was fortunate enough to have a mixed species flock that included both Brown Noddy and Brown Booby in the same binocular view/camera viewfinder!  And of course in Sept 2003 we had an incredible Yellow-nosed Albatross encounter!  Possibilities like this is what keeps folks coming back for more.  The regular species we expect to find during the course of the season include Audubons and Cory’s Shearwaters, Band-rumped and Leach’s Storm-Petrels, Bridled and Sooty Terns, Masked Booby, Pomarine Jaeger and Magnificent Frigatebird.

A full rundown of the species list for Offshore Texas Pelagics can be found at:

And of course, when there aren’t great birds around, sometimes other marine life activity steals the show.  We routinely get Bottlenose Dolphins plus have had frequent encounters with Whale Sharks, Atlantic spotted dolphins, Risso’s Dolphins, Short-fined Pilot Whales and even pods of Sperm Whales on multiple occasions.  The August trip from three years ago yielded many of us our lifer Rough-toothed Dolphins not to mention an experience with an absolutely monstrous Whale Shark that bumped into the boat, check out the photos of it about half-way through the slide-show from that trip at:

More information on these trips and on Texas Pelagics (including photos from previous trips and what species can be expected) can be found at Gary Hodne’s informative website:

I hope you’ll join us.

Gary Hodne

The Woodlands, TX


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