Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Norwalk Black Terns

I spent yesterday afternoon boating off the Norwalk (CT) Islands. It was birdy...terns and gulls were feeding in small flocks just offshore. Black Terns were very well represented, with at least 10 individuals among the more common species.






There is currently an unprecedented incursion of Cory's Shearwaters into far eastern Long Island Sound. Though I was well west of there, I spent over an hour setting up a fish oil slick in the middle of the sound in hopes of attracting one of these birds. No luck with that, nor with finding the Humpback Whale (!) that was seen off the Milford coast the afternoon before.

 - NB

CTYBC Shorebird Outing

On Sunday, August 30, I spent the day shorebirding along the CT coast with seven members of the Connecticut Young Birders Club. Everyone had a blast, and most of the boys picked up at least one life bird during the day. Shorebird numbers and variety were on the low side for the date, but we still saw some cool stuff. The continuing Marbled Godwit in Guilford was a nice get, and we had several juvenile Western Sandpipers too. But the highlight of the day came just as we were wrapping things up at Sandy Point in the evening, when Jory Teltser spotted a Buff-breasted Sandpiper arrive and land on the flats. Great scope views were enjoyed by all.

young CT birders at Sandy Point in West Haven, not long before a Buff-breasted Sandpiper made their day

I'm looking forward to the next field trip I take with this group!

 - NB

Monday, August 31, 2015

Aug 22-23 - BBC Pelagic Insanity

I guess we should be used to this by now.

The BBC August overnight pelagic trip never really fails to produce. With a couple of epic trips in recent years, expectations were high for last weekend's excursion. Somehow we managed to exceed those expectations on many levels.

I will leave the full-blown summary to trip leader Jeremiah Trimble, but here are some numbers for you in the meantime:

2 Black-capped Petrel (white-faced type)
28 White-faced Storm-Petrel (nope, not a typo)
23 Band-rumped Storm-Petrel
4 White-tailed Tropicbird (including two immatures over the boat at the same time...a rare age class off the east coast!)
1 Red-billed Tropicbird
17 Pomarine Jaeger (including up to five adults around the boat at one time)
1 Long-tailed Jaeger
1 South Polar Skua
1 Bridled Tern

And those are only the highlight species. Many of the more common storm-petrels, shearwaters, and phalaropes were also tallied.

I am working on getting out the eBird checklists, so I will be brief here. Below are some photos from the trip.

our track

WHITE-TAILED TROPICBIRDS: (An adult on day 1, two immatures together and one adult on day 2, all of which came right into the boat)

Adults -














Immatures -





RED-BILLED TROPICBIRD (immature):





WHITE-FACED STORM-PETRELS:










BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETRELS:






LEACH'S STORM-PETRELS:




POMARINE JAEGERS:












LONG-TAILED JAEGER:




SOUTH POLAR SKUA:




BRIDLED TERN:




BLACK-CAPPED PETREL (white-faced type):





"SCOPOLI'S" (CORY'S) SHEARWATER:



AUDUBON'S SHEARWATER:



GREAT SHEARWATER at sunset:


And a few misc iPhone pics!
leaving behind the gloomy Nantucket Shoals on Saturday morning

dramatic skies ahead of us to the south

co-leader Julian Hough is all smiles after his long-overdue life WTTR.

Saturday night sunset as storm-petrels, shearwaters, and jaegers feed off the stern

Saturday evening sky

Peter and Jeremiah admiring their work

Luke scanning the stormies

one happy group of leaders on the ride home Sunday

What's worth more...Doug himself, or the camera gear around his neck? Something rare better not fly by right now!!

Huge thanks are due to our trip organizers, participants, and boat captain & crew...we're not going to forget this one!

- Nick