||All trips on this page were organized by
Ida Giriunas (left)
and sponsored by the Brookline Bird Club. These
trips require an enormous amount of effort on the part of everyone involved.
Many thanks to Ida, Steve Mirick, Rick Heil, and the captain and
crew of the HelenH.
August 25 BBC Extreme Pelagic to
Vetch's and Hydrographer CanyonE (0400-2100 hrs.)
Weather: Mostly clear, morning and afternoon light to moderate
fog, S-SW winds 5-10 mph, 62-75 F. Seas: 3-5 feet.
Visibility: Generally good, although only fair in light fog and
haze at times.
Every trip to these waters is an adventure into the last true frontier of
New England ornithology.
More than seventy-five participants plus the captain and crew of the Helen
H departed Hyannis at 0400 hrs., crossing Nantucket Sound and
this time exiting through Muskeget Channel en route to Veatch's
Canyon where water temperatures reached 77 F. We cruised
down the center of the canyon and continued south well off the
shelf edge into water more about 4000 feet deep before steaming
east to Hydrographer Canyon where we worked back north, crossing
the cold water Nantucket Shoals (53 F) to Nantucket Sound,
arriving back in port around 2100 hrs.
The big event was the observation of a
(Puffinus baroli), formerly considered a subspecies of
Little Shearwater (P. assimilis), which was photographed by
perhaps a dozen photographers on board! Photos will be
presented soon. There are two specimen records for baroli:
one found dead Sable Island, NS, 1 Sep 1896 (AMNH ###; Tufts,
R.W. 1986. Birds of Nova Scotia, 3rd ed. with revisions by I.A.
McLaren and the Nova Scotia Bird Society. Nimbus Publishing Ltd.
& The Nova Scotia Museum, Halifax, NS); one found dead
Sullivan's Island, SC, Aug 1883 (MCZ #220051; Post, W. and S. A.
Gauthreaux, Jr.1989. Status and Distribution of South
Carolina Birds. The Charleston Museum, Charleston, SC).
There is one recent credible sight record of three birds: Bruce
Mactavish saw one 23 Sep 2003 ~80 km sws. Sable Island, NS and
two 80 km s. Sable I. 24 Sep (North Am. Birds 58(1):31)
Above map by Steve Mirick.
Anyone with photos please send them to scottspangenberg(AT)mindspring.net
and Jeremiah Trimble at jtrimble(AToeb.harvard.edu ; Scott will
post the photos to his website
www.scottspangenberg.com and Jeremiah will archive them for records committe review.
August 20, 2007 "Extreme
Pelagic" from Hyannis To Hydrographer Canyon
Cory's Shearwater (3): One definitive borealis photographed.
Greater Shearwater (41)
Sooty Shearwater (1-2): Nantucket Shoals.
Manx Shearwater (6)
Audubon's Shearwater (3): Vicinity Veatch's Canyon.
MACARONESIAN SHEARWATER, P. baroli (1): Pursued and photographed
over prhaps a ten minute period in 70+ degree water
approximately 18 miles norh of Veatch's Canyon at 40 18.2 N, 69
48.1 W. Formerly considered a subspecies of Little
Shearwater (P. assimilis). Briefly, it was a very small
shearwater with a rapid fluttery flight, exceptionally blackish
upperparts, save for the notably pale wing panels and a thin
white lines along the edge of the greater and median coverts.
The face was very extensively white, with the dark eye isolated
in the white field. The underwings appeared cleanly white,
with narrow, well-defined dark borders, and the undertail
coverts were extensively white as well. A careful review of full
monitor photographs when they appear may fine tune some of these
in the field' impressions. This is the first
photographically documented N. Am sight record (aside from two
specimen records) and obviously a first Massachusetts record, if
small shearwater sp. (1)
Wilson's Storm-Petrel (415)
BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETREL (1): Sitting with a Greater Shearwater
off the shelf at 40 07.6 N, 69 05.6 W, flushed and closely
observed and photographed in flight. About the sixth MA
record, and only the second or third photographed.
Northern Gannet (2 sub-ads.) =
Hudsonian Godwit (40): A very remarkable sighting of a migrating
flock southbound late in the afternoon low over the water over
Nantucket Shoals Next landfall Argentina?
Ruddy Turnstone (1): Circling the boat along the shelf edge.
Red-necked Phalarope (3+)
Red Phalarope (8)
phalarope sp. (8+)
Herring Gull (1 juv.)
Great Black-backed Gull (1)
Common Tern (4 ads.)
Pomarine Jaeger (1 ad./near ad.): South of Muskeget Channel.
Tree Swallow (3): Vicinity Veatch's Canyon.
Fin Whale (8+)
Humpbacked Whale (3+)
Gray Grampus (170+): Warm water canyons and slope.
SPERM WHALE (1): In 4000 ft deep water over Veatch's Canyon.
Common (Saddleback) Dolphin (40+): s. Nantucket Shoals.
Bottlenosed Dolphin (35+): warm water canyons and slope.
dolphin sp. (50+)
Hammerhead Shark sp. (1)
shark sp. (2)
Ocean Sunfish, Mola mola (2)
Manta Ray (1): =
Green Darner, Anax junius (1): Along shelf edge.
Many thanks again to Ida Giriunas for organizing these trips and
to the =
Brookline Bird Club for including them in their program, to all
of the p=
articipants who make them possible by signing up, and to
Marshall Iliff =
and Steve Mirick for their informative and insightful commentary
ertise during the cruise. Thanks to to Captain Joe Huckameyer
of the Helen H. The captain was exceptional and indeed instramental
the chase of the Macaronesian Shearwater which permitted us to document=
it so well. The next trip is scheduled for November 17. If
contact Ida at Ida8(AT)verizon.net.
Note: The above list is a summary list for the day, but
totals were kept in more detailed half-hour increments. If you'd
like those more detailed notes, Marshall Iliff has offered to
upload those detailed notes to anyone's eBird account. Mapping
features within eBird will allow you to see the exact route of
the Helen H as well as the location of the Macaronesian
Shearwater, Band-rumped Storm-Petrel, and other species. If you
have an eBird account write Marshall ( miliff(AT)aol.com) and
t in the detailed notes; if you don't have one, signing up is
easy at ww=
Richard S. Heil
S. Peabody, MA
BROOKLINE BIRD CLUB 'Extreme Pelagic' from HYANNIS,
MASSACHUSETTS to HYDROGRAPHER CANYON SUNDAY, 19 AUGUST
2007: Weather: Partly to mostly cloudy, N-NE winds 5-10
mph turning SW 10 mph in the PM, 59-72 F. Seas: 2-4
feet. Visibility: Generally very good to excellent,
although glare a problem at times.
Every trip to these waters is an adventure into the
last true frontier of New England ornithology. Nearly
seventy participants plus the captain and crew of the
Helen H departed Hyannis at 0400 hrs., crossing
Nantucket Shoals (sea surface temperature as low as 52
F) en route to the warm deep waters around Hydrographer
Canyon. We cruised down the center of the canyon and
continued south well off the shelf edge into water more
about 8000 feet deep and 75 degrees before returning
back north, recrossing the continental shelf edge and
the cold water Nantucket Shoals to Nantucket Sound,
arriving back in port around 2130 hrs.
Blue-winged Teal (4): Unexpected sighting over
Southern Nantucket Shoals
Common Eider (3): Nantucket Shoals
Common Loon (7): Nantucket Shoals
Cory's Shearwater (3): Surprisingly rare today; one
definitive C. d. borealis
Greater Shearwater (83): Most over colder Nantucket
Manx Shearwater (12): Most over Nantucket Shoals. A few
in warmer waters south of the shoals. One in the company
of an Audubon's provided for an excellent side by side
comparison on the water and in flight of these two
similar species. Puffinus sp. [Manx/Audubon's] (3+)
AUDUBON'S SHEARWATER (17): All in warmer seventy degree
waters south of Nantucket Shoals, especially over
Hydrographer Canyon. Majority apparently freshly
plumaged juveniles, while others were adults with
obvious signs of wing molt. New Massachusetts high count
slightly eclipsing the previous record of fifteen.
Wilson's Storm-Petrel (415; Most numerous at the
entrance to Hydrographer Canyon. Many adults still in
active wing molt.
WHITE-FACED STORM-PETREL (1): Over Hydrographer Canyon
at 39 55.8 N, 69 04.3 W. Unfortunately (for some) seen
by only one observer (me) on a boat load of birders.
Sparsely distributed but regular in these warm waters
with recent records including: 2-8/27/01 and 3-8/26/06.
Northern Gannet (1-sub ad.): Nantucket Shoals.
Black-bellied Plover (1)
Solitary Sandpiper (1): South of Nantucket Shoals.
Red-necked Phalarope (140+): Several large mixed species
flocks encountered on Nantucket Shoals.
Red Phalarope (75+)
phalarope sp. (5+)
Herring Gull (9+)
Great Black-backed Gull (6+)
Black Tern (3): Including two (one aged as juvenile) over Hydrographer
Canyon along Sargassum weed lines.
Common Tern (17): Mostly ads., but several juvs.- Shoals
Sterna sp. (3+)
LONG-TAILED JAEGER (1 juvenile): Nantucket Shoals; intermediate morph.
jaeger sp. (2): One sub-adult on Nantucket shoals
subject of much discussion, with some in Long-tailed
camp, others Parasitic. Photos to be reviewed. One other
jaeger distant over Hydrographer.
Tree Swallow (1 juv.): South of Nantucket Shoals.
Cedar Waxwing (1 ad.): Nantucket Shoals.<br> passerine sp. (3)
Fin Whale (3+): Distant tall narrow spouts were believed
emanating from this species. Entrance to Hydrographer
Gray Grampus (90+): Virtually all in the vicinity of Hydrographer Canyon.
Long-finned Pilot Whale (20): Hydrographer Canyon.
WHALE (5+): All in the very deep waters (4000-8000 feet)
at the center and mouth of Hydrographer Canyon. We noted
obvious forward blows and motored over, obtaining killer
looks at resting individuals breathing at the surface
right beside the boat. Scar marks from the tentacles of
Giant Squid were seen and photographed on one
individual. Eventually, a sounding dive provided a nice
display of the tail flukes.
BEAKED WHALE sp. (2):
Quickly showed three times at the surface before
disappearing. Possibly Cuvier's Beaked Whale or
Atlantic White-sided Dolphin (8+)
(Saddleback) Dolphin (5+)
Bottlenosed Dolphin (55+)
dolphin sp. (20+)
Harbor Seal (1): Nantucket Shoals.
sp. (1): S. of Nantucket Shoals.
Blue Shark (3)
shark sp. (2)
flying fish sp.: Several
noted in warm waters.
tuna sp.: Several large
individuals in full breach.
Ocean Sunfish, Mola mola
(1): Surprisingly rare today.
Atlantic Leatherback (2): One carcass floating over N.
Nantucket Shoals, one very much alive providing
excellent views right beside the boat over Hydrographer
Monarch Butterfly (6+): Several south to Hydro. moth sp.
(100's): All day.
||Leatherback Turtle photographed on the
August 19,2007 pelagic by
BROOKLINE BIRD CLUB 'Extreme Pelagic' from HYANNIS, MA to
Weather: Mostly overcast, N-NNW winds 5-10 knots, a few showers,
Seas: 3-6 feet in AM, subsiding to 2-4 feet in PM.
Visibility: Generally good to excellent.
Every trip to these waters is an adventure into the last true
New England ornithology.
Roughly seventy-seven participants plus the captain and crew
"Helen H" departed Hyannis at 0400 hrs., crossing Nantucket
surface temperatures of 58 F) en route to the warm deep waters
Veatch's and Hydrographer Canyons. We cruised the east
side of Veatch's and
continued southeast well off the shelf edge into water more than
deep and 75 degrees F for a couple of hours before working
recrossing the continental shelf edge to Hydrographer Canyon,
then back NNW
across Nantucket Shoals to Nantucket Sound, arriving back in
Map by Steve Mirick.
Try as we might we did not come up with a Pterodroma or any rare
storm-petrels ... this time, but we did encounter many of the
water seabirds species, highlighted by three (!) Bridled Terns,
state single day high count for the species
(from Martha's Vineyard during Hurricane Bob in 1991). We
also enjoyed an
outstanding cetacean show with no less than six species of
Common Loon (9): Nantucket Shoals.
Cory's Shearwater (30): Southern Nantucket Shoals.
'SCOPOLI'S SHEARWATER', C. d. diomedea (2-3): Southern edge
Shoals; smaller Mediterranean race of Cory's; mixed in roosting
bulkier, bigger billed borealis Cory's; probably not rare in
these waters as
we are coming to realize. Smaller size, shorter and more
slender bill, and
white projecting onto underside of primaries (noted on at least
Greater Shearwater (110): Shoals and deep shelf/canyon waters.
Sooty Shearwater (28): All Nantucket Shoals.
Manx Shearwater (4+): Nantucket Shoals.
Puffinus sp. (Manx/Audubon's) (2-3): A couple sitting (and
Cory's on the southern shoals left some observers
(including me) uncertain, while other observers thought them
AUDUBON'S SHEARWATER (3+): Shelf waters, vicinity Hydrographer
at all rare here but is a specialty of these warm New England
Wilson's Storm-Petrel (850): Roughly 90% molting adults, 10%
Leach's Storm-Petrel (1): Noted astern by a few experienced
Otherwise curiously absent; likely more numerous here in August.
Northern Gannet (2 sub-ads.): N. Nantucket Shoals.
Least Sandpiper (2): Nantucket Shoals.
Laughing Gull (15+): Nantucket Shoals.
Common Tern (20+): Nantucket Shoals.
BRIDLED TERN (3): One 1st-year west of Hydrographer Canyon at 40
09 N, 69 11
W, then later two (one adult or near adult, one 1st-yr.)
farther north at the southern edge of Nantucket Shoals at 40 31
N, 69 18 W.
The latter two were located roosting on a floating log and we
were able to
approach very closely for some great views and hopefully some
photographs by those with cameras. The young bird appeared
be food begging from the adult. We last encountered this
species here in
August of 2004 and it probably occurs regularly in these waters
summer and early fall, July through September.
||Bridled Terns photographed by Bruce Larson and used
with his permission. Notice bird on the left has more
cap than the bird on the right. A total of 3 were seen
on the trip.
LONG-TAILED JAEGER (1-1S): Southern Nanucket Shoals. Also
not rare here and
seems to be the default jaeger in late summer far offshore from
Brown-headed Cowbird (1): One flew along with us for a time
near the exit of Nantucket Sound.
Most all of the marine mammals were in warmer waters from the
of the shoals south:
Fin Whale (4)
Humpback Whale (4)
Long-finned Pilot Whale (15)
Gray Grampus (6)
Common (Saddleback) Dolphin (50)
Bottlenose Dolphin (110)
dolphin sp. (20+)
seal sp. (1): southern Nantucket Shoals.
|Loggerhead Turtle photographed by Steve Mirick and
used with his permission. Not the first Loggerhead
to be seen on a pelagic trip, but certainly the first to
be photographed. This turtle was unusually cooperative
swimming close to the boat on both sides. Not a
good sign. Smart sea turtles stay away from boats.
Loggerhead Sea Turtle (1): Great views alongside the boat.
sea turtle sp. (1)
Ocean Sunfish, Mola mola (6)
tuna sp. (6+): Seen jumping.
Mako Shark (2)
We encountered two inflated, drifting rubber/plastic rafts off the
continental shelf edge, and recovered both - no bodies.
One had a 'perfect'
cut-out from a shark bite out of the floor.
Thanks as always to Ida Giriunas who does the real work in organizing
these trips, and to Steve Mirick, who despite a serious bought
of 'mal de
mer' man'd up and did the usual yeomans job on the microphone.
Richard S. Heil
S. Peabody, MA
June 30 BBC Pelagic from Hyannis to Nantucket Shoals and
20 miles E. of Chatham, Cape
The first in a summer series of pelagic boat trips of the Brookline
Weather: Mostly clear, SW 10-15 mph, becoming variable SE/W 5-10
F; Water T: 59-68 F.; Seas: 1-3' ; Visibility: excellent.
We sailed under very pleasant skies and sea conditions,
and once out
into the open Atlantic soon encountered very good numbers of
around several fishing boats. Many shearwaters were
in large rafts resting upon the water, allowing for close approach
views and photographic oportunities. The highlights were the
large numbers of Northern Fulmars (for nearly July), and Manx
(15+ sitting on the water at one site). The most bizarre
observation was of
a female Common Yellowthroat circling and eventually landing (albeit
briefly) on the boat, some twenty miles offshore. Marine
mammals included a
couple of very active Humpack Whales (breaching and lobtailing) and
somewhat distant pod of dolphins, likely Atlantic White-sided.
many hundreds of Red Admiral Butterflies were noted far offshore
the day, highlighting the role of migration and dispersal in this
|Northern Fulmar photographed by Ian Davis
and used with his permission.
Many thanks to Ida Giriunas for organizing these trips, to
Iliff who provided an excellent and informative narration, to the
and crew of the 'Helen H', and to all the participants who make
'At sea' observations:
Common Eider (70): Mostly 1S males, along South Monomoy.
Common Loon (5)
Northern Fulmar (22): 2 dark, 20 light.
Cory's Shearwater (1)
Greater Shearwater (500): Many showing indications of wing molt.
Sooty Shearwater (850): A very small minority showing molt.
Manx Shearwater (39): 15+ roosting in one area.
Wilson's Storm-Petrel (1000)
Northern Gannet (12 imms.)
Laughing Gull (60+): All inshore.
Lesser Black-backed Gull (1-2S/3S): 15 miles offshore.
Great Black-backed Gull
Roseate Tern (3 ads.)-Off South Beach/Monomoy.
Common Tern (500)-Inshore.
Least Tern (6+)-Monomoy Pt.
jaeger sp. (1)-Off South Monomoy.
Common Yellowthroat (1f.)-20 miles E. of Chatham.: The presence of
along with reports of a Northern Waterthrush and a Black-and-white
on Plum Island yesterday (where neither breeds) I think indicates
early post-breeding dispersal/migration following the arrival of the
Humpback Whale (16+)
Minke Whale (3)
probable Atlantic White-sided Dolphin (20)
Gray Seal (20+)-S. Monomoy.
Red Admiral (500+)
Question Mark (1)
Clouded Sulphur (1)
|Manx Shearwater photographed by Ian Davis and used with
Richard S. Heil
S. Peabody, MA