Sept 24, 1994; Date Port O’Connor; TRIP REPORT

by | Jun 20, 2022

Aboard the Chip XI
Report Transcribed from 1995 Texas Deepwater Pelagic Trips Newsletter
Copyrighted By: Dwight Peake and Mark Elwonger
Offshore Outing Does Good Terns

The forecast was for 3-ft seas as a full load of birders met at Clark’s Marina at 4AM on Sept. 24. As the Chip XI neared the continental shelf towards mid-morning, the winds died and seas levelled to under two feet, providing great viewing opportunities for the storm-petrels which are adept at evading detection in the wave troughs.

A juvenile Masked Booby sought our company for nearly an hour as we approached the shelf. Unlike the last two trips, sargassum weed-lines were evident at regular intervals both on and off the shelf. As a result, we began to encounter Bridled Terns and later, a large flock of Sooty Terns which finally offered a close approach to nail down their identifying field-marks. Not easy to distinguish from Bridled Terns for those with little experience with either!

Also flushed from a weed-line was a single Red-necked Phalarope, and a pod of shy dolphins were believed to be Clymene. This time, the Cory’s and Audubon’s Shearwaters were found in deeper water instead of on the shelf.

The force of the norther’ that blew through on Thursday must explain why an exhausted Savannah Sparrow evidently overshot the coast and sought to hitch a ride back to shore. An American Coot was also noted far out from shore.



Cory’s Shearwater – 3
Audubon’s Shearwater – 7
Leach’s Storm-Petrel – 1
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel – 6
Masked Booby – 1
Bridled Tern – 20
Sooty Tern – 20


Savannah Sparrow – 1

American Coot – 1

Here is a map of the trip track as recorded by ships GPS.


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