Comments From Readers
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August 25,2010 from David Ball Maine
I live about twenty miles inland on the coast of Maine, Bar Harbor area to be exact, this last two weeks I have noticed a large gathering of birds flying circles and erratic flight over my house, dipping and swooping very fast, perhaps eating bugs although the altitude is some what high I have never seen these birds before, they look like ocean birds, the size of a common gull. They are all black or perhaps grey with two white stripes under the tips of their wings running from front to back of the wing close together.
I tried to follow them with binoculars but the bird is very fast and I could not identify the bird in an Audubon North American bird reference. I have also spent time online to find out more however I’m stumped. I have looked at the Wilson’s storm petrel, the leaches petrel, and black turn “no match” I am positive that the two stripes are at the bottom to identification…can you help me…..going nuts.
David Jonathan Ball
August 18, 2010 from Captain Salvatore Jay Frontierro
I actually removed the page that listed all the whale watching boats from New England ports because it was hard to keep it current. I can tell you that the Seven Seas is a fine whale watch and I have been on it myself. I also checked out their web page and was amazed at the information and pictures including one of a Wilson's Storm-petrel showing the yellow webs between the toes and a picture of a tall columnar fin whale blow that I don't have on New England Seabirds. We are indeed fortunate in New England to have such access to the ocean and the various banks due to the whale watching boats. Perhaps I should reconsider and add the whale watch boat page back to the site. Thanks for the email.
May 2010 From Lori Markoff Austin, Texas
While surfing up info about Gannet breeding colonies, I came across your website. It is a gem. It is very helpful and informative. Thank you so much for providing it! I saw that you say June-July is the best time to visit the Gannet colony on Bonaventure, so I am planning my trip to be there during that time frame. Tentatively, I plan on being there the second week of July. Might that be about peak time? If not, when would be the absolute best time to visit?
I have long dreamed of witnessing the Gannet colony. I live in Texas now, but lived in the east most of my life. I have visited the Puffin colony on Machias Seal Island, which was fantastic. However, I never made it to Gaspe for the Gannets. It turns out that I have to go to Massachusetts for non-birding reasons, so I decided to take advantage of the fact that I will be closer to the Gannets then I will ever be in the future.
Also, I will be camping, traveling with my little pop-up, so if you can recommend any good campgrounds, that would be great. And, if you have any suggestions for good birding in that general area, I would appreciate your advice on that as well.
And, one more thing. I noticed on your website that you were at the El Cielo Butterfly Festival in 2/06. Did you also attend that festival in 2007? I was on the 2007 trip and I am CERTAIN that I remember you. If I am remembering correctly, you were finishing up your RV life and moving back home in order to be closer to your daughter. My daughter Rachel was with me and when I mentioned you to her, she remembered you too. She even remembered that you were from Maine.
The birding/b’fly world is a small world. :-)
A small world or really a hobby with a great network. Have a great time in the Gaspe. It is one of my favorite places. The web page badly needs an update.
April 2009 from Frank Omilian Westland, Michigan
My wife and I are coming to Cape Cod next month, May 6 thru 9 or 10th. We have been there several times before, mainly to whale watch. I came across your site as I was doing research for our trip.
I am especially interested in sperm whales and enjoyed reading your account of that species. Reading it made me think sperm whales are special to you also.
I hope to see sperm whales again on this trip. I say "again" because we saw a sperm whale near Stellwagen Bank on our trip there in 1991. Specifically on October 9, 1991. I have attached my best photo of that whale to this email.
I assume you know about this sighting? I have some of the newspaper clippings about it if you would like to see those.
Well this is a very interesting e-mail. I was unaware of the 1991 sighting of Sperm Whale on Stellwagen Bank. In 1991 there were lots of birds on Stellwagen Bank and I wasn't so into whales. Further correspondence from Frank contained a pictures and more details on the sighting which I have added to the Sperm Whale page. Interestingly the Sperm Whales sighted on the August 23, 2008 BBC Extreme Pelagic were spotted in relatively shallow water near Nantucket Shoals. Thanks for sharing your experience, excitement, and the great picture.
February, 2009 from Carol CarsonThanks Emmalee: Love the editions to your website. As I was looking over the site, I noticed you had info about humpback photo ID. The whale you have on the page is a whale named Putter. I wanted to let you know in case you want to provide the name on your site. Will send the trip report your way. Best and thanks again, Krill
If you are interested, we found one of
these birds ( Greater Shearwater ) and handed it over to a
rehabilitation expert. Here is the interesting part: We live
near the border of North and South Carolina, in Charlotte, North
Carolina. The rehab person contacted the Audubon Society. This
is the first reported sighting/rescue of one of these birds this
far south and this far inland. I just thought you might find
this story interesting…..my daughter takes horseback lessons out
in the country, where we saw this bird land (in a large, open,
Thanks Rachel for your email and for helping the bird.
April 2006 From Gail O'Brien- What Is This Bird?
Dear Ms. Tarry, A friend forwarded me a link to your site in hopes of finding a resource to identify a seabird I recently photographed. While your site is very informative I could not identify my bird. I was hoping you might be able identify it for me or point me in the right direction. I have already tried the Golden and Audubon Guides to Field Identification, Birds of New York, a field guide and several guides on Water Fowl with no success.
I have attached several pictures for your consideration. Any help in identifying the bird would be greatly appreciated. Thank you Gail M. O'Brien
P.S. The pictures were taken April 29, 2006 in the New York State Boat Channel, just north of the Jones Beach Theatre around 40 Degrees 36 minutes 13 seconds North, 73 Degrees 31 minutes 17 seconds West.
April 2002 - From Captain Tom, Webmaster of the New England Sharks
I thoroughly enjoyed your website. I see those sea birds all the time while sharkfishing offshore. We regularly have small land birds about the size of a sparrow or slightly smaller land on the boat, because we are the only floating object around and the alternative for a tired land bird 30 miles offshore is to drown. They have no fear of people because of the alternative.
There are more than one bird species involved. One last year I identified was a thrush with a yellow striated chest . Sunday I had one that was entirely different looking . It looked like an Eastern Phoebe. A birder would have a great experience since you can pick the bird up in your hand or have it grab your index finger and really look it over. I have actually taken them on my finger into the cabin and set them on a secure perch until they are rested. We have had a couple of them stay onboard all the way back to Scituate and then fly ashore when they hear the other birds.
I am going to link your wonderful site so that shark fishermen have a place to go to identify the birds they are seeing. The more familiar people are with a species the less likely they are to harm it.
Which brings me to shark fishing. We release in some years every shark we catch. (hundreds) Mass. biologists ,(Greg Skomal being one) , have conducted tests on sharks deliberately fought to exhaustion on rod an reel. They put transmitters on them and within 3 hours they are back to normal. We have released sharks in the morning and recaught the same shark in the afternoon. I have tagged sharks for the NMF Apex Predator Group and some of these tagged sharks have been caught a year later. It is best to leave the sharks in the water during release, and not pull them aboard, although some biologists pull them aboard and take blood and tissue samples tag them and release them and they still survive.
We are encouraging tag and release. We have in fact released thousands of big blue sharks and a few makos in past years. My daughter is unhappy with the "dead hanging sharks" on my website and has encouraged me this year to take pictures of live swimming sharks. Since I see a lot of sea birds I will take some pictures of them. If you would like I would send you some for your website if you could use them. Maybe you already have plenty, I don't know. It's pretty lonely out there for little seabirds like storm petrels. But just as it gets dark if it is relatively calm I have seen them come together by the hundreds and sit on the water like a large carpet. So I figure they have a way of communicating.
Good Luck, and if you have any questions about sharks please write. - Tom
Webmaster Note: Captain Tom runs a catch and release shark fishing boat out of Scituate. Of course we would love the seabird and shark pictures.
March 21,2002 - Comments from Machias Seal Island Captain
I am writing to thank you for the Machias Seal Island feature on your website. It conveys a good deal of useful information to interested visitors. Would it be possible to have our e-mail link updated to show the correct address? email@example.com I also noticed one slight inaccuracy- travel time to the island on our tours is only about 45 minutes, as Cutler is the closest point of departure. Lastly, additional species of seabirds which can be seen on our tours include Common Terns and Black Guillemots. Thanks very much for your attention,
Captain Andrew Patterson
Webmaset Note: Corrections and updates were made to the Machias page.
March 19, 2002 Inquiry from Fourth Grader
I am a fourth grader in Manhattan and I'm seeking info on murres. In my class everyone is writing feature articles and I'm writing about murders. I knew some info from my trip to Alaska and since then I have found out more beyond my knowledge. I looked up murres and found your site and 1 other. Both gave me a lot of info but I still have questions lingering in my mind. If it is okay with you I would like to interview you online or over the phone. I have a list of questions ready if it is okay to interview you. I would like you to send an answer back as soon as posable. .....
Webmaster note: Kyla and I have exchanged questions and answers by mail.
March 18,2002 Seabirds Link Added to WorldTwitch
I had failed to notice your website until today, when I looked at Massbird for the first time in a couple of years and followed the link.
NE Seabirds an excellent website which I will be checking frequently in the future. I have added a link on the WorldTwitch Links page, along with a second link directly to your News page.
Cheers, John Wall
New York WorldTwitch - Finding Rare Birds Around the World http://worldtwitch.com .
March 1, 2002 Wandering New England Birder
...... New England Seabirds is great. I used it last autumn and was directed to Westport Seabirds for a terrific pelagic trip. firstname.lastname@example.org (chris buelow)
December 24, 2001 CBC Isle of Shoals -correction
Hello Emmalee, The pic.'s are great! I did notice though that in the picture of the Gulf Challenger, the island in the background is Smuttynose and not Appledore. Happy Holiday's, email@example.com (Dan Hayward)
Webmaster Note: Thanks for noticing the error. It has been corrected.
September 30, 2001 From Nova Scotia - Cape Breton Island
Hi, I was surfing the web and came across the page for Bird Islands that you have .If you should be in the area again I invite to try my tour . There are only two boat tours going to Bird Islands and I own Puffin Boat Tours and operate from Englishtown on the Old Cabot Trail .
I offer a very unique boat tour .I give them a brief history of the area that dates back to 1597 . I tell them about the Island as well as the birds that they will be seeing at the Islands . On the way to and from the Islands we feed Bald Eagles ( 1 - 16 on every trip ) . They watch for the boat and if they want a fish they fly out to the boat . I throw the fish in the water and they pick it up close to the stern of the boat. For the majority of Americans it is the first bald eagle that they have ever seen and very few have every seen one pick a fish up. My Captain is Giant MacAskill's grand nephew and has 36 years experience. On the way in from the islands I tell them about lobster fishing . I fished lobsters the past 15 years and people are extremely interested to know about the meal that they truly enjoy ! Hope you enjoyed our area and that you will try my tour ! Regards,
firstname.lastname@example.org (Donelda MacAskill)
Webmaster Note: I have added this tour to the Bird Island page and written the author for more information.
September 2001 - Comments from a young birder
..... I managed to go to the young birder´s trip to Plum Island and It was great! We saw nearly 90 sp, 3 baird´s sandpipers, 1 philadelphia vireo, the weathear.. I found a small park near my house in Boston, so I ´m seeing lots of vireos, warblers and sparrows! .......
Your web page is better everyday, with lots of photos and stuff, Congratulations! My father developed the photos of the pelagic and they were great, we had some close ups of the greaters flying and stopped in the water, as well as the phalarops .
Webmaster Note: Daniel is one of the young birders on the 9/8 pelagic trip. He refers to the South Shore Bird Club Young Birders Trip. Congratulations to the SSBC for this successful venture.
September 2001 - Thanks from sponsors of Maine Audubon Trip
Hi Emmalee, The pelagic birding trip with Maine Audubon (9/29) is definitely going. We have now met our minimum required number and the rest of the space is filling up fast.
Thanks for including us in your listing. Several people who called me to register for the program mentioned reading about it in your newsletter.
Program Registrar Maine Audubon
20 Gilsland Farm Rd
Falmouth, ME 04105
August 2001 - High Praise for the Hydro Trip, The WFSP, and Steve Mirick's Photography
Emmalee, Good work on the storm-petrel still a lifer for me)! If I ever did not have to do my own trips, I would come out to the east and hunt for that bird!
Congratulations onthe White-faced Storm-Petrel. That's one I'm still looking for......email@example.com (Jim Danzenbaker)
Hi Emmalee, I enjoyed reading your trip summary with Steve's photos. It was a great trip! Kathy Mills
Hi Emmalee, I just wanted to compliment you on the trip report, and Steve on the quality of the photos. I have tried to photograph that bird myself with far inferior results! Thanks for your NE seabirds web site, which I really enjoy. Hope you're well and glad you're still enjoying the pelagics. regards, Laurie firstname.lastname@example.org
Webmaster Note: I was only one of 46 happy participants on this trip. The credit for the bird belongs to those who organized the trip and spotted the bird.
August, 2001 - New Jersey Fisherman
We saw an atlantic sunfish this monday August 20 ,2001 afternoon , I was on my friends 25 foot parker in rough 4'-6' seas ,,out of Barneget Light,about 15 miles south- southeast. We were going slow due to the weather ,,We bumped it with the boat ,we never saw it until we went (over it )by it ,,, we circled it twice and made sure we didnt hurt it ,,it kept on swimming ,,, kinda riding the waves,,not really forward, or backward , i had never saw anything like it befor i was a little scared of it,,We discribed it to another boat and they told us what it is, I looked it up and came up with your website, i didnt know if your looking for information or tracking ,,but it looked to be about 400# it was huge about 18" thick ,,4 or 5 feet tall,,and about 8' long.its top fin stuck out of the water like 2 feet. well thanks for taking your time reading this. sorry if i bothered you .
Webmaster Note: Mark saw an Ocean Sunfish Mola mola. Thanks for your mail Mark.
July, 2001 - Visitor from Arizona
Emmalee, Your new site is excellent. I met you last summer on one of the weekly pelagics out of Newburyport and remember talking with you about this site. Congratulations!! It's a site that has been sorely need in NE for some time, and I'm sure birder's everywhere will welcome. Of course, now that I've relocated to AZ, after living and birding in NE for more than 20 years, reading the past trip reports and upcoming trips made me kind of "homesick". Guess I'll just have to jump on a plane and get back there for a trip or two..... Again, congratulations and good briding!! Jeff Estis
June 2001 - Site Selected as Featured Web Site
Hi and Congratulations!
Birding.com has selected your web site as one of its featured web sites this month. Thousands of birders will be able to click on this link and go directly to your great web site! (Birding.com receives over 40,000 visitors per month!) You can check it out at http://www.birding.com. ........
Each month we select a few high-quality birding-related web sites. This month we selected your web site. We try to find original and interesting sites that will appeal to a broad range of birders and ornithologists. Web sites like yours make birders appreciate the huge amount of information available on the Internet.
Congratulations on creating such a wonderful web site for birders. ....
January 2001 - Comments on Whale Watch
.........Whale boat from Newburyport is first class with excellent naturalist who calls birds as well as mammals (based of course on last season). Mammal highlight last year was a pod of 75-100 White-sided Dolphins surrounding boat! Cheers for 2001.
December 2000 - Comments on New Site
Even though it's not completely up yet, the site is lookin' good.
If I may make a suggestion or two, for the sake of completeness,you should probably list White-beaked dolphin and Grampus, or Risso's dolphin on your "Other Marine Life" pages. Several years back, on either Glen d'Entremont's Fall trip or the Stellwagen CBC,we had both those species on a very memorable seven-cetacean day (the others were Fin, Humpback and Minke Whales, Harbor Porpoise, Long-finned Pilot Whales and Atlantic White-sides.)
You might also consider Harbor and Grey Seals.
Also, last I heard, there was still a very small colony of Leach's SPs breeding on one of the Elizabeth Islands(Little Penikese, I think) south of Cape Cod. All told, NE Seabirds looks like it will be a really valuable resource for anyone who wants do engage in pelagic birding off New England. I thank you for the inspiration and work you have put into it. Des Tynan
June 2000 - Visiting Birder from England