Sooty Shearwater, Fulmar, Puffin and other pelagics - 21 April 2010

Today John Shemilt and I took advantage of the calm weather to venture offshore from Shinnecock Inlet on Long Island (Suffolk Co). We viewed this was an exploratory trip, not knowing quite what to expect so early in the season. We headed SE over shelf waters to the slope of Continental Shelf and encountered an intriguing mix of 'winter' and 'summer' seabirds along the way. Among the highlights were a Sooty Shearwater and four Wilson's Storm-Petrels, all extremely early by my reckoning. These Southern Hemisphere breeders usually arrive in mid-May peaking in early June. It's conceivable the shearwater wintered in the Northern Hemisphere but this seems less likely for the storm-petrels. A Common Tern standing on a wooden plank some 57 mi from the inlet was my first of the season and I noticed that it was banded (a Great Gull Island bird perhaps?).

Common Loon - 36
Red-throated Loon - 12
loon sp. - 7
Black Scoter - 11
Blue-winged Teal - 2
NORTHERN FULMAR - 3 (c.72 mi SE inlet, 2 standard light morph, one with white blotches)
SOOTY SHEARWATER - 1 (31 mi SE inlet, very early migrant or bird that over-wintered in N Hemisphere?)
WILSON'S STORM-PETREL - 4 (c.70 mi SE inlet, very early arrivals)
Northern Gannet - 70+
Double-crested Cormorant - numerous around inlet mouth.
Great Cormorant - 3 imm. (1 on jetty tower and 2 inside bay)
RED PHALAROPE - 4 (molting into alt.)
LITTLE GULL - 2 (alt. ads)
Bonaparte's Gull - 75 (majority ads in alt. plumage)
Laughing Gull - 1 ad. (seen with Razorbills!)
American Herring Gull - numerous
Great Black-backed Gull - numerous
COMMON TERN - 1 ad. (57 mi SE inlet, standing on a plank doing it's best to imitate an Arctic Tern)
RAZORBILL - 77 (mix of 1st yr birds and ads getting into alternate plum.)
ATLANTIC PUFFIN - 4 (two with reasonably well developed bills and white on face)
Short-beaked Common Dolphin - 5+

My warmest thanks to John Shemilt for his hospitality and willingness to do all the 'driving'! John has a great fondness for these waters and his willingness to share just a small fraction of his knowledge made the passages across the infamous 'dead zone' more than bearable.

After returning to land I took a quick run along Dune Road noting 6 EASTERN WILLETS and a CLAPPER RAIL.

1 comment:

  1. 若對自己誠實,日積月累,就無法對別人不忠了。........................................