BBC Extreme Pelagic: Hyannis, Massachusetts to Atlantis Canyons; 18 July 2009: BLACK-CAPPED PETREL and more!

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Richard Heil

Jul 19, 2009, 8:38:46 PM7/19/09
Brookline Bird Club EXTREME PELAGIC: HYANNIS, Massachusetts to WEST
ATLANTIS and ATLANTIS CANYONS (0400-2115 hours)
Weather: A.M.: Mostly overcast, rain (heavy at times) until about
0830 hrs, S-SW winds 10-22 mph, 62-75 F.
P.M.: Partly sunny (hazy), S-SW winds 8-15 mph, 65-75 F.
Seas: 4-6 feet in the A.M., diminishing to 2-4 feet in the afternoon.
Visibility: Mostly very good after the rain ended; light to moderate
fog over cooler Nantucket Shoals waters on the return.
Leaders: Richard S. Heil, Jeremiah Trimble, and Steve "the man on the
mike" Mirick; no trips would happen without the dedication and hard
work of Ida Giriunas.

Approximate route aboard the "Helen H" with able Captain Joe
Huckameyer and excellent attentive crew Matt and Bob: From Hyannis
via Muskeget Channel south to West Atlantis Canyon, then east to
Atlantis Canyon, then north across Nantucket Shoals and back into
Nantucket Sound between Nantucket and Monomoy Islands.

An exact route map nicely charted via GPS by Steve Mirick can be
viewed here:

A nearly full boat endured moderately rough conditions in the morning
on the way to the shelf edge, but were rewarded with diminished seas
as the day progressed and were especially rewarded by some great
pelagic birding. Proving once again the exciting possibilities in
these mostly unexplored waters, we encountered our first Pterodroma
petrel in the Extreme Pelagic trip history, a beautiful BLACK-CAPPED
PETREL that showed for nearly five minutes, making two close passes
to the boat, all the while pursued expertly at full throttle by the
captain. Chasing Pterodromas is not for the weak at heart!

Other highlights included a new state high count for Audubon's
Shearwaters and a nice tally of Leach's Storm-Petrels, many being
well seen. The major 'lowlight' was the sad case of a Right Whale,
injured an entangled in fishing gear south of Nantucket Shoals

Common Eider (5 males): just off Martha's Vineyard.
BLACK-CAPPED PETREL (1) Found in approximately 425 feet of water
(surface T = 72 F), about 15 miles NW of the head of West Atlantis
Canyon and 77 miles south of Martha's Vineyard, at 40 10 15 N, 70 43
90 W. In view 4-5 minutes; seen by most on board; the petrel made
two close passes at the boat arcing high in typical Pterodroma
fashion in wind; photographically documented; about 5th state record;
spectacular bird.
Photos by Jeremiah Trimble here:
Photos by James Smith here:
Cory's Shearwater (232) : Many identified as borealis; a couple
possible Scopoli's candidates not fully documented.
Greater Shearwater (240)
Sooty Shearwater (16)
Manx Shearwater (3)
Audubon's Shearwater (19): HIGH COUNT; All in warmer (70-76 degree
F.) waters near the shelf edge; many in heavy molt; New state high
count! Previous high was of 17-Hyrographer Canyon vicinity-9 August 2007.
black-and-white shearwater sp. (1) : Manx/Little type not well seen.
Wilson's Storm-Petrel (475)
Leach's Storm-Petrel (58) : Most in or near deeper waters near shelf
break as is typical
storm-petrel sp. (3): LESP/ Band-rumped's not well observed.
Northern Gannet (3 sub ads.)
Herring Gull (3)
Great Black-backed Gull (7)
Least Tern (2) : Near M.V.
Common Tern (4)-Natucket Shoals.
Sterna sp. (10)
Pomarine Jaeger (1) ; Darkish sub-adult; oddly only jaeger for the day.
passerine sp. (1) : Small (large warbler/vireo/waxwing) size, squat,
short tailed; maybe 10-15 miles south of M.V.

NORTH ATLANTIC RIGHT WHALE (1): Sadly entangled in fishing gear
(ropes and flotation ball) about 42 miles SSE of Nantucket. The
animal also showed old healed propeller damage on the back; the
situation was duly reported and rescue efforts may be underway soon
if they are not already.
Gray Grampus (Risso's Dolphin) (1)
Bottlenosed Dolphin (70)
Common (Saddleback) Dolphin (28)
Harbor Seal (2)

Blue Shark (1)
Hammerhead Shark (1): about 7 ft long
Ocean Sunfish, Mola mola (2)
a number of Flying Fish sp.
Green Darner, Anax junius (1)

Thanks to all the participants aboard who made this trip happen! Our
next EXTREME PELAGIC trip promises to be an equally or even more
exciting one, a 42 hour sleeping overnight to the shelf edge and
canyons (probably to Hydrographer) on 22-23 August. For details see:

Richard S. Heil
S. Peabody, MA

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

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