Sunday, August 23, 2015

A pair of boobies off Hatteras


This weekend was Natalia's first time officially spotting on a pelagic.  While she performed admirably for a couple days out in the Gulf Stream aboard the Stormy Petrel II, a sexier pair of boobies ended up stealing the show. 

You never know what to expect when rolling the dice on a pelagic trip, or hell, in birding anywhere, but on Friday's trip we encountered something unprecedented.  We first spotted a distant sulid--a young Brown Booby, which uncooperatively picked up and flew away from the boat. Not 15 minutes later as we were creeping up on a flock of sitting shearwaters I heard Brian's voice over the radio urging us to look at the "big white bird in the middle."

Masked Booby with Cory's Shearwaters



This booby was far more friendly than its Brown cousin and seemed content to preen with its shearwater friends while we ogled from close range.

Masked Booby

It looked like it was molting into its first set of adult or near-adult feathers, giving it a bit of a mud-spattered look. 

Masked Booby
The mud-spattered thoughts were too offensive and off it flew.

Masked Booby
With two boobies around and the hot, still weather, it was feeling like the Caribbean out there, so not surprising that Bridled Terns also put in a good showing.

Bridled Tern
Otherwise, the weekend provided the usual summer pelagic species found off Hatteras.

Great Shearwaters
Cory's Shearwater (with Masked Booby)



A north wind turned the ocean into a roller coaster on Saturday which brought a lot more Black-capped Petrels in close to the boat.

I rate myself a pretty lousy sea bird photographer and this pic captures my lack of skill, while at the same time the Black-capped Petrel essence.  They're so fast it's all I can do to keep one in frame!



Black-capped Petrel - has places to go
The Saturday trip also offered some good looks at Band-rumped Storm-Petrel, which we missed entirely on Friday.

Thanks to Brian Patteson and Kate Sutherland for organizing the trips and making it a fun weekend.

1 comment:

  1. A sexier pair of boobies??!!

    David Hochadel- trip participant both days.

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