Thursday, August 22, 2013

Multiple Birdgasms: Seven Lifers in One Day off Cape Hatteras



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 #2: Audubon's Shearwater was also abundant. Their smallness and devotion to two-tone was appreciated by all.

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. 

Lifer #7: Trindade Petrel!!! Fuuuuucccckkkkkkkkk!!!!!! I had fingers crossed for this bird, but didn't actually expect to see it...I actually expected to get majorly gripped off by being on the wrong side of the boat when one went by. Fantastic looks at a couple of individuals on the first day.

10 comments:

  1. I come to this site for the lustful looks now too.
    You're a Pelagic Pimp Seagull, a Pelagic Pimp

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    1. Thanks buddy. I will be sure to dress the part on the next boat.

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  2. That Cory's shot is particularly sick. The light is really weird and perfect and it looks like you used a flash BUT THERE WAS NO FLASH.

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    1. Natty light is the best light. Not the best beer though.

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  3. Replies
    1. I look forward to introducing you to the horrors of seabird photography.

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  4. Dude, this shit is disgusting. Getting me pumped for CA birding. I'd love to have storm petrel looks like that. Not too often in TX.

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    1. Not too often in CA either...almost never, in fact. It was great to have storm-petrels following the boat, that doesnt happen in this ocean.

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  5. I'm guessing 7 is your lucky number...great shots.

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