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FLORIDABIRDS-L  May 2011, Week 5

FLORIDABIRDS-L May 2011, Week 5

Subject:

White-tailed Tropicbird and more offshore from Ponce de Leon Inlet. Volusia County

From:

Michael Brothers <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Michael Brothers <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 29 May 2011 15:49:35 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (92 lines)

Yesterday, 5/28, Bob Wallace, his friend Frank, and I went offshore from
Ponce de Leon Inlet to go fishing. At 30 miles out we found 2 Sooty
Terns. At 40 miles out we found 2 more Sooty Terns and a couple of
Wilson's Storm-Petrels. Fishing was very slow and the weather had been a
little too breezy to try for going farther out, when the wind laid down.
Bob decided that we should run out farther to 60 miles. At 60 miles we
found a Bridled Tern and a scattering on more Wilson's Storm-Petrels.
Then we found a pod of Pantropical Spotted Dolphins, then a group of
Short-finned Pilot Whales, then we put out a little menhaden oil and
waited and it soon attracted 5 Wilson's Storm-Ptrels and two Band-rumped
Storm Petrels. 

You may have been reading about the recent work being done on the
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel complex. It appears that there may be at least
4 species of Band-rumps involved in this group. I am just beginning to
work on the photos of what we found, but it appears that we may have two
different Band-rumped Storm-Petrels at this spot. One had a slightly
forked tail and one had a squared off tail. The bird with the slight
fork was in heavy molt and the inner primaries were just growing in. 
The bird with the squared off tail had replaced all of its primaries,
except the outermost three primaries were still from the previous year. 
I have not had time to try to figure this all out, but it is very
intriguing and just goes to show why pelagic birding is such a frontier
of learning.

After we left this group, we met a pod of dolphins that were behaving
very oddly. They were cutting the water's surface, but not rolling as
you typically see dolphins. As we approached, we could see the rounded
heads had no rostrum and some were patched with pale marks on the head. 
They were Risso's Dolphins! A life mammal for me. 

We headed on out to 70 miles and found a perfect weed line. We trolled
this weedline and had good luck catching 4 dolphins (mahi-mahi, not the
mammal). Then, out of the blue came a beautiful White-tailed Tropicbird!
It made pass after pass over and around the boat. Sometimes it came so
close, I think I could have grabbed it! It was especially interested in
our outriggers, and it came up and we thought it was going to land, when
it stretched out and bit the round black ball at the end of the
outrigger. 

We cruised this weedline for about 2 hours and found a lone Arctic Tern,
Bridled Tern, Leach's Storm-Petrel, a group of over 25+ Wilson's
Storm-Petrels, and a lone Audubon's Shearwater (the only shearwater of
the day). On the way back in, we also found a Leatherback Turtle at 21
miles out and another about 1//4 farther.  It was a fantastic day!
Thanks Bob!

Species List
Brown Pelican
Immature Yellow-crowned Night Heron (out at 30 miles, heading south?)
Laughing Gull (Out at 60 miles)
White-tailed Tropicbird 1
Bridled Tern 2
Sooty Tern 4
Arctic Tern 1
Wilson's Storm-Petrel  40
Band-Rumped Storm-Petrel  3
Leach's Storm-Petrel 2
Audubon's Shearwater 1

Mammals
Bottlenose Dolphin (offshore type)
Risso's Dolphin  8
Pantropical Spotted Dolphin  10
Short-finned Pilot Whale  6


Sea Turtles
Loggerhead  Turtle  4
Leatherback Turtle  2

Fish
Black-winged Flying Fish
Tripletail
Dolphin

Michael

Michael Brothers
Marine Science Center
Ponce Inlet, FL

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