Date: 3/31/18 9:20 am From: Jon Woolf <jswoolf01...> Subject: [MASSBIRD] NH Audubon 2018 Spring Pelagic Birding Trip
The thermometer may still be shivering, but the birds say spring is coming. So it must be time to start thinking about NH Audubon's spring Pelagic Birding Expedition. How the time flies.... 2018 marks ten years we've been doing these trips. This year we're going back to Memorial Day as the date; this year, that's Monday, May 28th. Otherwise, the plan is pretty much the same as in previous years:
WHAT: An all-day trip into the Gulf of Maine, looking for pelagic birds (although we'll also check out any whales and other marine life that we encounter). As always, we've chartered the whale-watching boat /Granite State/ for this day of birding along Jeffreys Ledge and wherever else the birds may lead us. Steve Mirick will be on the microphone, and our hosts will be the highly skilled and experienced Captain Pete Reynolds and his crew. We'll leave dockside at 8am and stay at sea the whole day. We should return to Rye Harbor around 5pm.
WHEN: Monday, May 28th (Memorial Day).
WHERE: Meet dockside at Rye Harbor at 7:30AM for an 8:00AM departure.
WHAT TO BRING: Binoculars, of course. A lunch if you want to. A digital camera if you have one -- these trips often produce excellent photo opportunities for both whales and birds. Weather on the open water is unpredictable, so dress warm, in multiple layers in case you get too warm and need to take off a layer. Certainly bring sunscreen, and either sunglasses or a hat. Bring motion-sickness pills if you're vulnerable to seasickness. /Granite State/'s seating is mostly wooden benches, so a seat cushion is a good idea if you have trouble with sitting on hard surfaces.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Hopefully, good weather and lots of interesting birds! Every trip is different, of course, but past spring trips have produced Northern Gannets, Wilson's Storm-petrels, Great and Sooty shearwaters, Northern Fulmars, Red-necked Phalaropes in breeding plumage (a rare sight indeed), a number of migrants, and a number of near-shore species. We often get good looks at Common and Roseate Terns from the White/Seavey Island tern colony, and Black Guillemots also appear around the Isles of Shoals most years. We've also gotten good looks at several whales of various species. Last year we got a once-in-a-lifetime gem: a wandering BOWHEAD whale!
REGISTRATION: You must register in advance for this trip. We need a minimum of 30 people to pay for the trip. We've set a maximum of 50 so that the boat doesn't get too crowded. Cost is $70 for NH Audubon members, $90 for non-members. Contact Massabesic Audubon Center (phone 603-668-2045, email <mac...>) to sign up. Contact either MAC or me with any questions you might have. Please be certain that you leave a phone number or email address where you can be contacted on Sunday May 27th, in case we have to cancel due to weather. There is no rain date; we go on the 28th, or not at all.
To go with the trip, I will be holding a 1-hour workshop at Massabesic Center on Saturday May 26th, as a basic introduction to the most common pelagic birds and how to identify them. Since we generally see both whales and birds on these trips, the workshop also includes information on the common whales of the Gulf of Maine.
My thanks go out to all who have made these trips a success in past years, and I hope to see you again this year ... along with as many new faces as we can fit! :-)
-- Jon Woolf Manchester, NH (Massabesic Audubon Center Volunteer)