Sept 18, 2021 Port A – Kingfisher Trip Report
On the Monday before the pelagic during the passage of Hurricane Ida I was wondering what the conditions might be like on Saturday 9/18. The weather forecast called for the seas to calm down significantly by Saturday so that wasn’t too concerning, but what about the seabirds? On one hand the hurricane force wind may have swept them all out of our reach, on the other hand we will be out there 5+ days beyond its passage so maybe the seabirds will have repopulated the area after the hurricanes disturbance?
So as it turned out we were lucky with both the weather and the seabirds. The weather was beautiful with 1-2 ft seas and a nice assortment of many of the regular seabirds. But the huge highlight was seeing 3+ pods of Sperm Whales within a half mile radius over the San Benito dome for a total of 6 – 8 individuals.
Heading out over the shelf just after dawn we stopped at several shrimp boats and saw many Magnificent Frigatebirds and a few Masked Boobies. Pelagic Bottlenose Dolphins were seen around the shrimpers as well.
As soon as we reached the shelf break we started to see a steady stream of seabirds. Throughout the deep waters and we had close extended views of Audubon’s Shearwaters, Cory’s (Scopoil’s) Shearwaters, and one late Band-rumped Storm-Petrel that sat on the water close by for an extended view.
There were about 5 or 6 Masked Boobies some that stayed with the boat for a long while. A couple Brown Boobies that were perched on Shrimp boats.
And we smashed the record for Magnificent Frigatebirds seen on a Texas Pelagic trip with approximately 75 – 80 seen most all of them perched on shrimp boats over the shelf. One shrimper had 32 Frigatebirds.
Other seabirds included a Common Tern, lots of Black Terns, a few Least Terns, and lots of Royal and Sandwich Terns and Laughing Gulls around the shrimpers.
Overall a very enjoyable day offshore. Thanks to all our leaders and participants who make these trips possible.
There is still one more Texas Pelagic trip in 2021 on October 16th from S Padre Island and a few spaces are still available. See here for details: www.TexasPelagics.com
FINAL TRIP LIST :
TOTAL PELAGIC SPECIES – 6
TOTAL PELAGIC SEABIRDS – 115
Cory’s Shearwater 6
Cory’s (Scopoli’s) Shearwater 2
Audubon’s Shearwater 17
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel 2
Magnificent Frigatebird 80
Masked Booby 6
Brown Booby 2
MARINE MAMMAL Sp:
Sperm Whales 3 pods 6-8 individuals
Pelagic Bottlenose Dolphins
NEARSHORE SEABIRD Sp:
Laughing Gull 525
Least Tern 9
Black Tern 556
Royal Tern 68
Sandwich Tern (Cabot’s) 15
Common Tern 7
LANDBIRD MIGRANTS Sp:
Passerine sp. 2
shorebird sp. 1
warbler sp (parulidae sp) – 1
Upland Sandpiper 2
Blue-winged Teal 5
Cliff Swallow (pyrrhonota Group) 1
Here is a map of the trip track as recorded by my GPS.
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