Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dolphins, dolphins everywhere, but not a bird to see ....

Another CRESLI Whale-watching trip, this time joined by Dave Klauber and Bobby Rosetti, two veterans of pelagic birding trips around the world.  We had low expectations but if you don't put the time in, you don't see things, so we settled in to scout the near-shore waters South of Montauk.

Not too much to report on the bird front with the only tubenoses being 35 Wilson's Storm-Petrels and 3 Cory's Shearwaters.  There were a few other birds about, including a Northern Gannet, a Black Tern, and a scattering of Loons, and Common Eider.  We also had a few migrant shorebirds, some ID'd as Sanderlings, and managed to pick a Roseate Tern from the feeding Common Terns around the point.  No Pelicans or Frigatebirds this time, perhaps next week ....

Inshore Bottlenose Dolphins
The "non-birds" put on a better show; appropriate considering we were on a whale-watching boat.  We had 50+ Inshore Bottlenose Dolphins and 20 Short-beaked Common Dolphins.  We also had more breaching Basking Sharks, an airborne Atlantic Needlefish, and a few small Mahi Mahi chasing bait on the surface.  We even had a migrant Red Bat that powered past us on its way towards Montauk.

Short-beaked Common Dolphin
'Beast of the Trip' though was a herp - a LEATHERBACK SEA-TURTLE that we came across about 5-miles South of the Montauk Light.  My photo was terrible (the head went down and the turtle dove just as I found it in the frame), but it's always a thrill to see these dinosaurs in person.  It was also my 4th species of Sea-Turtle seen from Montauk this Summer.  So few people realize that all this life is out there, so close to shore - I have surfing friends who have never seen a dolphin from Long Island despite spending thousands of hours in the water.  While the birds weren't the best, there are much worse ways to spent a Wednesday.

Leatherback Sea-Turtle (honestly)

1 comment: