Saturday, August 21, 2010

White-faced Storm-petrel--Days 1 and 2

It is Saturday nite. Days 1 and 2 of the search for the white-faced storm-petrel are completed but regretfully without a sighting of the bird. This is one of the most difficult of the pelagic birds to find. It shows up in small numbers along the east coast from the Outer Banks north to Massachusetts beginning each year in mid August and is seen as late as early October. I have seen only 1 in my pelagic birding forays over the years.

We did see some birds over the last 2 days while out on the Stormy Petrel II, captained by Brian Patteson. The top picture is mostly cory's shearwaters (light heads and yellow bills) with a couple of great shearwaters (bottom left, the 2 birds with the dark caps and bills) in amongst the group. Remember to click on the photo to enlarge. The bottom photo above is a not very good effort at capturing a pilot whale breaching the water. There were many of them around the boat today. We mostly had lots of wilson's storm-petrels with the occasional band-rumped storm-petrel. There were a few black-capped petrels each day as well.

Leaving and returning from the harbor provided the opportunity to see several other birds including herring and laughing gulls, least and caspian terns, double-crested cormorants, brown pelicans, great egrets, black skimmers, ospreys, and canada geese.

On Friday evening I had dinner with Bob Ake and his wife, Joyce, at my favorite restaurant in Nags Head--Basnight's Lone Cedar Cafe. It was nice to meet Joyce, and share a well-made seafood meal. Since the soft shell crab season is now over, I had a broiled lump crabcake and local shrimp plus whipped sweetpotatoes and slaw. Joyce had blackened redfish and Bob had tilefish. We shared a bottle of Brancott sauvignon blanc and a piece of key lime pie.

35 birds have been seen during the 1st 2 days of week #34, but no new year birds. The travel map has been updated. Tomorrow is our last chance this week to see the white-faced SP. Stay tuned!

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