July 17, 2010; S Padre Island; TRIP REPORT
Aboard the Osprey
Subject: South Padre Island Pelagic Report July 17, 2010 Greater Shearwater, Whale Sharks
Date: Sat, 17 Jul 2010 21:31:29 -0500
From: Eric Carpenter
The first Texas pelagic of the year left the docks this morning (17 July) with a boat full of both experienced pelagic junkies as well as a few first timers. The wave forecast of “2 feet or less” was quite appropriate, especially the “or less” part, as we enjoyed some of the calmest conditions we’ve experienced on these trips. The smooth ride unfortunately did not translate into large quantities of birds, as pelagic species were hard to come by all day. Perhaps some of this can be attributed to the recent hurricane that passed through the area a couple week prior and/or the large amount of fresh water still dumping into the gulf as a result of that storm.
We had great looks at a fly-by Masked Boody and then at a Bridled Tern sitting on flotsam in the middle of a large patch of sargassum prior to getting to the deepest water. As we approached the continental shelf, we encountered several large mammals/whales via distant spouts and brief looks though the animals remained out of reach – speculation was that they were perhaps beaked whales. This was followed a short time later by our first 2 Band-rumped Storm-Petrels of the day.What these trips lack in quantity, they make up for with quality, and today was no exception. Just after noon, we came upon a frenzied school of fish feeding at the surface. Much to everyone’s excitement, in amongst the fish was a most obliging Greater Shearwater. Like the fish, it was caught up in the frenzy and seemed rather unconcerned with our approach. At times, it was literally right next to the boat.
It would certainly be hard to top this sighting, but something else caught our attention for the next 30 minutes or so that made everyone forget about the shearwater. Not 1, not 2…..but 3 Whale Sharks! Wow! These gentle giants were also quite obliging, and we all enjoyed the sight of them swimming just below the surface, and we were lucky enough to have one almost surface as it was feeding with its mouth agape. These were our first Whale Sharks in a few years and a lifer for many aboard.The rest of the day was calm and we had a great look at an adult Masked Booby preening on the water, a few more Band-rumped Storm-Petrel, and then a Magnificent Frigatebird as we headed back to shore. Totals for some of our target species for the day ended at:
Highlights (photos, etc) of the trip will be posted to https://www.texaspelagics.com/ in a few days, as soon as folks have time to catch up on things. I want to thank our leaders (Petra Hockey, Mary Gustafson, Dwight Peake, Randy Pinkston, and Brad McKinney), the folks at Osprey Fishing Tours as well as all our energetic passengers who made today’s experience a memorable one. There are still spaces on both the August 21st and September 11th trips. Please contact me for more details if you are interested.
— Eric Carpenter Austin
Thanks to Brad McKinney, Petra Hockey, Randy Pinkston, Clay Taylor and Tony Frank for contributing many great photos!
FINAL TRIP LIST :
TOTAL PELAGIC SPECIES – 5
TOTAL PELAGIC SEABIRDS – 18
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel – 9
Bridled Tern – 2
Masked Booby – 5
Greater Shearwater – 1 (numerous photos taken, only 15 previously records documented in Texas)
Magnificent Frigatebird – 1
Here is a map of the trip track as recorded by my GPS.
TRIP PHOTO ALBUM
Album 2 Photos © Brad McKinney, Petra Hockey, Randy Pinkston, Clay Taylor and Tony Frank
OCEANOGRAPHIC AND WEATHER CONDITIONS:
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