Sunday, July 13, 2014

Whale and Seabird Watch - 07/12/2014

Nine members of the SSBC along with ten BBC members enjoyed a wonderful morning of birding and whale watching.

Leaving from Plymouth on a full boat with naturalist "Krill" Carson, we headed straight out to where the whales were feeding, somewhat north of Provincetown on Stellwagon bank.

Gurnett Light Plymouth

Along the way, we soon noticed the lack of Wilson's storm-petrels. Our usual spot for first sightings, just off Gurnett Light, was void of any petrels.

It was not until we had reached the west side of the bank, before one was spotted. And then only be a few individuals. We only had 2-3 for the day. A number which was the lowest since 2008.

That aside, once we entered the area where the whales, mostly Humpback ~ 30 were feeding,

Humpback whale feeding on Sandlance
we enjoyed a wonderful show of interaction between the whales, gulls and shearwaters. By far, Cory's Shearwater was the most numerous of the four species of shearwater seen this day,

Cory's Shearwater

followed by Great Shearwater.

Great and Cory's shearwaters

Also seen were a fair number of Sooty Shearwaters.

Sooty Shearwater

The fourth and final species of shearwater seen was a distinct and lone Manx shearwater, spotted by eagle eye Glenn d'Entremont. Aside from one subadult Northern Gannet, none of the other possible sea specialties were noted.

In addition to the usual whale watching boats, we also saw the last of the American whaling ships. Now used for watching only.
Unidentified schooner and Charles W. Morgan

While heading back into Plymouth, we were lucky to see four Black Skimmers at the end of Plymouth beach. 

As always, I have a hard time putting together numbers for all the birds that were seen. There are so many distractions with surfacing and diving whales, birds moving from one spot to another and times the boat spinning like a top to get the best whale viewing advantage.

Here are my numbers. Others on the trip may have more definitive information.
Cory's Shearwater 800-1000
Great Shearwater ~100
Sooty Shearwater 30
Manx Shearwater 1
Wilson's Storm-Petrel 3
Northern Gannet 1
Double-crested Cormorant 9
Willet 4
Short-billed Dowitcher 5
Laughing Gull 100
Herring Gull X
Great Black-backed Gull 3
Least Tern 12
Common Tern 150
Black Skimmer 4
Rock Pigeon 6
Tree Swallow 2
Barn Swallow 5
Song Sparrow 2
House Sparrow 2

Mike Emmons

No comments:

Post a Comment