Sept 17, 2005; S Padre Island; TRIP REPORT
Aboard the Osprey II
Subject: WBC Pelagic Trip Results- 17 Sept 2005
Date: Sun, 18 Sep 2005 09:16:48
From: Sumita Prasad
Yesterday marked the 3rd WBC Pelagic trip of 2005. We have 2 more trips scheduled this year- October 8th, (which is nearly full), and November 5th.
On behalf of the World Birding Center, I would like to thank our wonderful pelagic trip leaders who make these trips exciting, adventurous, comfortable, and fun for our participants. Our talented leaders yesterday were John Arvin, Eric Carpenter, Petra Hockey, Brad McKinney, and Dwight Peake. Brad McKinney has been gracious enough to send a summary of yesterday’s 12-hour excursion:
17 September WBC Pelagic Trip Summary- by Brad McKinney
The World Birding Center pelagic trips continue to turn up great birds. Although it was a slow day by September standards, the deepwater crew was treated to excellent looks of several pelagic species, including a near adult Red-billed Tropicbird. Dawn broke with a steady coastal breeze and two to four feet seas, which shortly gave way to one to two feet seas and light winds for most of the day. Blue water began at 25 miles offshore, well in advance of the continental shelf dropoff (45-50 miles). Although we encountered quite a bit of sargassum, it was in small clumps, not the long weedlines that often attract birds. At 9:00 am we watched two male Magnificant Frigatebirds with bright red throat pouches perched atop a shrimp boat, occasionally displaying while making resonant knocking sounds. Impressive birds. There were also several Atlantic Spotted and Bottlenose dolphins around the shrimp boat.
We passed several shrimp boats on the way to the edge of the shelf, which had only a handful of Royal Terns. At 10:00 am our boat passed a white bird sitting on the water, which quickly took flight showing bold black primary coverts and a long white tail. The Red-billed Tropicbird then landed on the ocean’s surface with tail cocked slightly upwards. It allowed us two passes, revealing an orange-red bill, bold black eyeline wrapping around the nape, and barred mantle. Amazingly, this is the second tropicbird of the season (we had a full adult on the June 2005 trip). We also had good looks at two Cory’s Shearwaters and close views of five Bridled Terns perched on an assortment of flotsom.
At 1:30 pm, sharp-eyed leader Petra Hockey spotted a small shorebird in a small clump of sargassum, which upon close inspection turned out to be a Red-necked Phalarope. Although Red-necked Phalarope is not unexpected during September pelagic, it is a species that had not previously been recorded on WBC pelagics. We also had a smattering of passerines including Eastern Kingbird, Barn Swallow, and Yellow Warbler, and several flocks of egrets and a lone flock of fifteen Blue-wing Teal. We are looking forward to the October and November pelagics. There are still a few spots open on both of these trips. Hope you can join us.
Many thanks again for your interest and participation in the WBC Pelagic Trips!
Sumita Prasad Director of Birding
Fermata, Inc. and World Birding Center
FINAL TRIP LIST :
TOTAL PELAGIC SPECIES – 5
TOTAL PELAGIC SEABIRDS – 11
Magnificent Frigatebird- 2 males
Red-billed Tropicbird- 1
Here is a map of the trip track as recorded by my GPS.
TRIP PHOTO ALBUM
Album 1 all photos © GarettHodne.com
OCEANOGRAPHIC AND WEATHER CONDITIONS:
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