It’s probably not quite right to call these winter boat trips pelagics because most of the birds are not very far out, but we will stick with it for now. We were supposed to run a trip from Hatteras on Saturday, but the forecast made it seem unlikely, so I made arrangements to dock the boat in Wanchese, and we ran our trip out from Oregon Inlet where there was less wind and sea. It’s usually harder to get out from there in winter, but this weekend was one of those exceptions.
We actually ended up traveling as far south as we could manage in the south swell, but along the way we found several Common Murres out past Wimble Shoals. I hoped we might see a couple but I was not expecting to see over a dozen. There were possibly even more, but the sea conditions made it tough to spot them from any distance, and most of the large alcids were diving quite a bit. Most of our time was spent in 45 to 50 degree water, but we made it down to some warmer water- close to 60 degrees. There was quite a bit of life between Wimble Shoals and the warmer water, and except for Red Phalarope, we found pretty much all the target birds for winter. Altogether we saw over 1500 birds of about 20 species, but the many of these were target species of interest:
Northern Fulmar- 21
Sooty Shearwater- 2
Manx Shearwater- 8
Great Skua- 2 maybe 3
Black-legged Kittiwake- 5- all im.
Little Gull- 4 ad.
Atlantic Puffin- 17
Common Murre- 13
Thick-billed Murre- 1
Murre sp- 2
Razorbill- 700 (actual count)
Large alcid sp- 11
This is the third winter boat trip that we have run in as many weeks, and so far all of them have found good numbers and diversity of seabirds. We have trips planned for the next couple of weekends, so I’m hoping the trend continues.
To read a trip report and see photos from the day, check out the Seabirding blog: seabirding.blogspot.com
To see our schedule of trips for 2018, go to our main website- www.seabirding.com/
Dates are posted through spring and summer dates will be added soon.