1 Audubonís Shearwater
65+ Wilson's Storm-petrel
1 (poss.2) BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETREL
1 Leachís Storm-petrel
7 Sooty Tern
2 Bridled Tern
2 Brown Noddy
A fishing trip offshore from Hillsboro Inlet (Broward)
on Sat July 19th proved to be a productive one for
pelagic seabirds. We traveled up to 24 miles offshore
looking for weed lines or Terns "turning" over feeding
dolphin. A Leachís Storm-petrel was encountered about
8 miles offshore, showing obvious pale diagonal inner
wing bars and a partly broken white rump patch (only
visible when we got very close). I suspected it was
this species from some distance away due to its
distinctive nighthawk-like flight. At 10 miles, a
Brown Noddy was found circling. Another boat was
already on the scene so we pulled up some distance
away to observe and check the sparse sargassum patches
for bait. The Noddy eventually lost interest and moved
off to the south. Soon afterwards an Audubonís
Shearwater and the first Wilsonís Storm-petrel of the
day were found. Another Brown Noddy was located at
about 15 miles. While trolling baits at 24 miles, two
Least Tern flew overhead heading in an easterly
direction Ė for Bimini perhaps. On the way back in we
stopped to circle a raft of at least 60 Wilsonís
Storm-petrel. On getting closer I noticed two larger
Oceanodroma petrels in the mix. The Wilsonís
Storm-petrels were alternating between foot-pattering
on the surface of the sea and resting for a time.
Fortunately I was able to get close views of one of
the larger Oceanodroma petrels as it skirted the mass
of Wilsonís and made passes within 20 yards of the
boat, which was now idling. It lacked the obvious pale
inner wing diagonal bars of Leachís. They were less
extensive and appeared to be somewhat duller than the
adjacent Wilsonís Storm-petrels. No tarsus projection
was visible beyond the tail and the white rump band
was unbroken. The icing on the cake was the flight,
which was less erratic than the earlier Leachís,
staying close to the surface with long glides.
Unbelievably, it had to be a Band-rumped Storm-petrel.
According to the GPS, we were 17.4 miles offshore at
the time. I never did get good enough views of the
other Oceanodroma to positively ID it, however its
flight would point more to Band-rumped than Leachís.
It was great to read Paul's post about the other
Band-rumped Storm-petrel to the south and Bob's post
about pelagics to the north (Can you send a
Black-capped Petrel this way ?). Interestingly, in
over a dozen trips offshore in the last year, this is
the first one to find Brown Noddy offshore Broward.
For the record, a trip from Hillsboro Inlet on June
8th produced: 1 Wilson's Storm-petrel, 2 Audubon's
Shearwater, 5 Sooty Tern and 2 Bridled Tern.
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