Thursday, April 14th
|Several Magnificent Frigatebirds were seen resting on the riggings of moored shrimp boats|
Today, Dave and Tammy McQuade were kind enough to invite me along on their first pelagic birding trip out on the
Gulf of Mexico for this year. Very little pelagic birding gets reported from
Southwest Florida, primarily because of low expectations
of finding any serious activity. However, Dave and Tammy have been running
off-shore pelagic birding trips with some very interesting results. In the past year they successfully found an unexpected Red-footed Booby, plus Audubon's Shearwater,
all three Storm-Petrels, Masked and Brown Boobies, Red-necked Phalaropes,
Sooty, Bridled and Rosette Terns, both Jaegers and migrating Neotropicals.
So today, our contingent consisting of hosts Dave and Tammy, plus Dave and Alicia Lusk, Dave Alpier and myself, set off at dawn from Punta Rassa, with high expectations. The weather was outstanding and the seas were very calm, but the birds seemed to be missing. Dave piloted his boat off-shore, visiting various wreck sites and was surprised at how empty of birds the Gulf seemed to be. They had never dipped on Sooty and Bridled Terns before. Even the communications tower off
was devoid of any bird
activity. Not really sure why. Marco
We did find some birds. Common Loons, Royal Terns, Laughing Gulls, a Common Tern, Magnificent Frigatebirds and several immature Northern Gannets. There were a couple of sightings of White-winged Scoters racing north and at least eighteen Great Egrets heading north, miles off-shore. As for neo-tropicals in migration, we spotted a flock of Blue Grosbeaks and a couple of Barn Swallows. A Leach's Storm-Petrel, a Pomarine Jaeger and a Parasitic Jaeger were our only real pelagic sightings
Bottlenose and Atlantic Spotted Dolphins were entertaining as they would swim along the boat.
I'd like to again thank Dave and Tammy for a most interesting day on the water.