Sunday, August 11, 2019

Westport Seabird trip 8-10-19

My fall pelagic season started yesterday out of Westport.   After three trips this spring and a break for a few months, I was eager to get back out.  The weather looked great, almost too nice.  No wind in forecast meant birds might not be up and moving about.  A very light rain shower decided to stay with the boat during the first part of the trip.  But soon that stopped and fun birding began.

With no wind, the birds we saw all were happy to stay on the water for great views.  I think this trip  was the first Buller's Shearwater of the season for Westport.  It flew in from the stern and gave everyone great looks, later we saw this one hanging on the water with a Pink-footed Shearwater.

Once well offshore we simply wandered around the dead calm seas looking for flocks of birds on the water.  With the mill-pond ocean, the flocks were easy to spot from a great distance.

Usually my looks at Long-tailed Jaeger  are of a flying bird passing by the boat, rarely can you sneak up on them sitting on the ocean.  Yesterday we had a flock of Long-tailed (4-5 birds) on the water right near the boat.  Crazy fun views on stunningly beautiful birds.

Long-tailed flying away showing off the darker flight feathers.

The bird-of-the-day for me were  the Scripps's Murrelets we saw. One we caught sight of right next to the boat, with in  a few feet, just sitting on the surface.  I was on the other side of boat and got good views through the binoculars but missed a photo.

These two popped up while we were looking at an Arctic Tern sitting on a log, we skipped the tern and motored closer to the Scripps's.  They stayed right on the surface and near the boat for the entire time we were in area.

Usually my view of a Scripps's is a rocket of a bird passing by the boat and gone before you can even call it out, not today.

I was impressed by their beautiful necks and low profile in the water.  For such tiny birds they are very elegant.

This adult South Polar Skua was another cooperative bird.

I bet it can't wait to get all its flight feathers back.

The calm seas and cooperative birds allowed us to pick out a few Short-tailed Shearwaters in the Sooty flocks.

I think this is the above bird flying away.

Other than that, no Leach's Storm-Petrels but a decent supply of Fork-tailed.  All the other normal stuff in good supply.  A blast of a trip on a perfect day.  Thanks to Bruce, Kelly, Bill, Phil and Chris.

Five more trips this fall should keep me busy.

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