Sunday, July 8, 2012

Whale and Seabird Watch

On Saturday, July 7, the South Shore Bird Club held their annual Whale and Seabird Watch
aboard the Captain John and Son's boat out of Plymouth.
Leaving on the 9 am boat,  no shorebirds were seen off the end of Plymouth beach.
A majority of the birds flying around the tern colony appeared to be Laughing Gulls
with Common Terns being the second most numerous species.

After sailing out of Plymouth harbor and passing Saquish beach, we had
the typical half dozen Wilson's Storm-Petrels.
After that, it was slow for some time as one Sooty and one Great
Shearwater were seen as we approached P'Town.

Along the way, we did have one Razorbill.

The boat continued around P'Town where we saw a cloud of birds near
whale activity in area somewhere off the Truro coast.

This is where we spent the majority of our time, watching multiple whale
breaches, tail lobbing, fin slapping and bubble feeding.

With each whale action, hundreds of Sooty Shearwaters and to a lesser
extent Great Shearwaters would pick up and follow the whales.

Several times we were in the middle of the birds as they took off. The sound of hundreds of little feet pitter-pattering across the water was an experience.

During the return trip we had a Parasitic Jaeger, which flew with the boat for
several minutes.

Below is a rough estimate of numbers.

Herring Gull                 X
Rock Pigeon                  4
House Sparrow                3
Common Tern                 50
Mallard                      9
Laughing Gull               70
Double-crested Cormorant     5
Great Egret                  1
Great Blue Heron             1
Wilson's Storm-Petrel    30-50
Great Shearwater       100-150
Sooty Shearwater       300-400
Manx Shearwater            2-4
Cory's Shearwater            6
Razorbill                    1
Parasitic Jaeger             1

Humpback                    15 (all in the Truro area)
Minke                        1
Finback                      1

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