Lifer #1: Cory's Shearwater. This was the first shearwater to be seen on the way out to the Gulf Stream, and the most abundant species on both trips; aside from the many borealis (above), "Scopoli's" Shearwater was also well-represented.
The North Carolina bird blitz of 2013 has come and gone in a flash. Irreparable damage was done to one of the major remaining holes in my ABA Area list...Atlantic seabirds. That's right, old Number 7 (Seven) has gone his whole life without doing a pelagic off the east coast...so with great pleasure I racked up an incredible 7 (seven) life birds last weekend, in fact in a single day. The last time I got 7 (seven) life birds in one day in the United States was...I don't know when. Maybe Adak Island (AK) in 2010? Maybe not even then.
Although our nerd conglomerate did 2 back to back trips, all lifers (some call them "liferz") came on day one. The birding was shockingly good; quality birding was sustained throughout the day, and we ran into a lot more than what is just pictured here. After being warned for years how dull Atlantic pelagic trips can be, I simply could not relate on day one...too many birds. Sunday's boat was more typical, but plenty of fun nonetheless.
So before I throw a more comprehensive post together, here is a quick lifer rundown...much more to come.
Lifer #3: Black-capped Petrel. There is nothing quite like experiencing a new Pterodroma, and these birds did not disappoint.
Lifer #4: Great Shearwater...a bird a long time coming. Although seen regularly on the first day, we only had a handful on Sunday. I look forward to getting close with this bird in the years to come.
Lifer #5: Bridled Tern. The terns stayed distant on Saturday, but Sunday brought pornographic looks at a number of individuals of all sorts of ages and plumages. This is a bird I've lusted for for years, partially due to their strange and uncanny similarity to Gray-backed Tern.
Lifer #6: Band-rumped Storm-Petrel. Storm-Petrels make birding hard, but by the end of the first boat trip I had this species down. It was a great bird to get to learn, and we had them regularly throughout Saturday and a smattering on Sunday's boat. All individuals were assumed to be "Grant's", although admittedly assuming things about birds is not a practice I highly recommend. Having storm-petrels (mostly Wilson's, but plenty of Band-rumps) close to the boat was a novel luxury...it just doesn't really happen in Californian waters.