Aug 19, 1995; Port O’Connor; TRIP REPORT

by | Jun 20, 2022

Aboard the Chip XI
Report Transcribed from 1996 Texas Deepwater Pelagic Trips Newsletter
Copyrighted By: Dwight Peake and Mark Elwonger
Audubon’s 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.



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

Map of the trip track is unavailable.


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