June 17, 2005; S Padre Island; TRIP REPORT
Aboard the Osprey II
Subject: Results of the first pelagic trip of the season!
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 21:55:45
From: Sumita Prasad
Many thanks to out trip leaders, Eric Carpenter, Petra Hockey, Brad McKinney, and Mike Overton for kicking off the pelagic season with a beautiful and productive trip today. Below is a trip summary, provided by Brad McKinney:
The Texas pelagic birding season got off to a great start off this morning in the calm seas off South Padre. The June 17th World Birding Center pelagic certainly defied the notion of having to wait until September to see great pelagic birds. This morning, an impressive nine pelagic birds species were seen, as well as two 25-foot whale sharks! We started off the trip with a Magnificent Frigatebird just beyond the South Padre Island jetties, and the sun had not yet risen. Good omen. By 8:30 am we had the first of two Masked Boobies investigating our boat, but it wasn’t too terribly interested in chasing us. Fortunately, the next bird was interested in our boat. At 8:45 am we had the bird of the day- an adult Red-billed Tropicbird. Quite a stunning bird. To the delight of all, the tropicbird made several slow passes around the boat, allowing for extended views at close range. Several birders got some nice photos. Amazingly, Captain Bobby Duncan had photographed the same tropicbird three days earlier on a fishing trip, just 16 miles offshore (our bird was 32 miles offshore).
Before noon we added another Masked Booby, five Bridled Terns, one Sooty Tern, a Cory’s Shearwater, and a whale shark. The afternoon produced three Band-rumped Storm-Petrels, a Leach’s Storm-Petrel, eight Audubon’s Shearwaters, and our second whale shark. Both whale sharks, which allowed close approach, spent extended time at the surface where they fed amongst active schools of bonita. Before leaving the deep water, one of the participants reeled in a 43-pound yellowfin tuna. On the ride back home, we enjoyed watching flying fish and Bottlenose dolphins. As we approached the jetties, we had loads of terns at the color change, including Common, Black, Sandwich, Least, and Royal terns.
We are looking forward to the July 29th pelagic, and there is still space available. If interested in upcoming trips, please contact Sumita Prasad.
Good Birding, Sumita
FINAL TRIP LIST :
TOTAL PELAGIC SPECIES – 9
TOTAL PELAGIC SEABIRDS – 23
Cory’s Shearwater (1)
Audubon’s Shearwater (8)
Leach’s Storm-Petrel (1)
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel (3)
Red-billed Tropicbird (1)
Masked Booby (2)
Magnificent Frigatebird (1)
Bridled Tern (5)
Sooty Tern (1)
Here is a map of the trip track as recorded by my GPS.
OCEANOGRAPHIC AND WEATHER CONDITIONS:
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