Date: 7/17/17 6:08 am From: Peter Flood <pomarine...> Subject: [MASSBIRD] Chatham Pelagic - July 17, 2017
On Sunday July 17, we ran our 3rd Chatham Pelagic of the season aboard the Kittiwake with Captain Ken Eldredge leaving Chatham Harbor at 6:30 am under very pleasant conditions. However, it was tough not to notice the marine layer hanging just offshore that would plague us throughout our trip today. The plan initially was to head on an east/southeast bearing to a waypoint approximately 10-12 miles offshore where we had enjoyed success on the previous two trips. However, we abandoned this course fairly quickly as the fog was thickening the further east we traveled.
We opted to travel north and then northeast in an attempt to circumnavigate the fog This worked out well initially as shortly after changing course we came up upon a feeding flock primarily of Cory's Shearwaters and Common Terns that also contained an unwelcome guest/pest in the form of a Skua. Unfortunately, we were still somewhat in the soup at this point and the Skua did not stick around very long and ultimately flew off to the south into the fog. Bill Thompson and I managed to get a few photos of the Skua which I have embedded in the ebird checklist (link below). My impression was this was probably a South Polar Skua.
As we traveled further north and east we came across more Cory's Shearwaters and an occasional Great Shearwater and Sooty Shearwater. Wilson's Storm-Petrels were a low density feature all day feeding and traveling along tidal fronts and slicks. We also enjoyed a few Humpback Whales along the way that showed well.
The fog eventually cleared somewhat further to the north (still hanging in off Chatham) and we found ourselves approximately 10-11 miles due east of Nauset Beach off Orleans. A couple of Parasitic Jaegers traveling together inspected the boat briefly and continued on to the south. This stretch of ocean was generally quiet so we decided to head back in closer to shore.
A chumming session approximately 4 miles off North Beach was curious in that it primarily brought in Common Terns and Laughing Gulls along with a few large gulls. and a couple dozen Wilson's Storm-Petrels. On our way back to port we came up on a couple more Parasitic Jaegers harassing some feeding terns before we returned to Chatham Harbor.
Given the fog today the photo opportunities were not ideal - but a nice day to be offshore.
Thanks to all of our participants that joined us today: Will Sprauve, Ross Campbell, Maureen Wylie, Stan Selkow and Bill Thompson. Extra thanks to Bill Thompson for his Skua photos which have been embedded in the ebird checklist.