The highlight of an offshore fishing trip this past weekend (28-29 July 2012) by John Shemilt, Keegan Corcoran and myself was the discovery of six or seven BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETRELS [aka Madeiran Storm-Petrels]. This was over very deep water (c.4,500 ft) at the continental shelf edge some 92 miles SSE of Shinnecock Inlet on eastern Long Island. After stumbling upon one bird in the late afternoon we hurriedly dropped a chum slick that
quickly drew in the others. These were watched and photographed for close
to an hour before the evening light became too poor for photography and
word of fish biting nearby drew us away.
Also present over the slick were 70 or more WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS and a
single LEACH'S STORM-PETREL, affording ideal comparisons. Although the
number of sightings is definitely on the increase, Band-rumped Storm-Petrel
remains a significant rarity in New England and adjacent the Mid-Atlantic
States. Whether this is due to changes in marine conditions or more
consistent access by birders to deep offshore waters is hard to gauge. In
New York, the species has been photographed only once before (6 Aug 2011,
John Shemilt), a few miles north of this more recent encounter.
The numbers of birds seen on this overnight trip were lower than we
expected, with totals of 16 GREAT SHEARWATER, 3 unidentified large
Shearwater, 1 MANX SHEARWATER, 1 AUDUBON'S SHEARWATER, 26 LEACH'S
STORM-PETREL and 330 WILSON'S STORM-PETREL. Our only CORY'S
5 birds seen inshore on the return trip, with two individuals less than 2
miles from the inlet. No offshore terns, gulls, jaegers, sulids, shorebirds
or passerines were seen.
As is often the case in this area, we encountered some terrific marine mammals with several pods of RISSO'S DOLPHINS (70++ total), 10+ SHORT-BEAKED
COMMON DOLPHINS, 10+ OFFSHORE BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN and 7 FIN WHALE. It
is equally gratifying to report that we tallied a mere 11 discarded helium
balloons; well below normal. Sadly this is probably a reflection of the
predominantly easterly winds rather than more responsible behavior by folks
Cape May Warbler, Blue Grosbeak, Bobolinks - 2 Oct 2010 - In spite of the N-NNE winds and rain during the night, Hugh McGuinness and I figured that Montauk Point might be a good place to look for migrants. We were...
2 years ago