Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cape Hatteras Pelagic Boat Trip Map

Here is a composite image using Google Earth & my handheld GPS track log & selected photos from my pelagic boat trip off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina on June 10, 2013.  It shows our departure from the marina in Hatteras with the round trip path overlay onto the map.  

Cape Hatteras Pelagic Trip Track Map

    * 105.2 total miles traveled
    * 11 hours, 31 minutes duration
    * 3,940 data points in the GPS track log

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Pelagic Birding in the Gulf Stream off Cape Hatteras, NC

This week has been a fantastic week of excitement while birding the Cape Hatteras National Seashore along the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  With excellent field guides of George Armistead and Alvaro Jaramillo, we departed Hatteras for a nearly 12-hour pelagic birding trip to the warm, blue waters of the Gulf Stream about 30 miles offshore.  Even though... yes, I did get seasick... I was well enough to capture several photos of these important sea birds... and added 7 new ABA birds to my Lifelist... so it was a great success!

Great Shearwater on the water

Wilson's Storm-Petrels

Black-capped Petrel

Bridled Tern

Cory's Shearwater

Audubon's Shearwater

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

High Island, Texas - Spring Migration Trip - April-May 2013

We enjoyed a full 21 days during spring migration at one of the birding capitals of the world... High Island, Texas!

It was a very long drive from California all the way across California, Arizona, New Mexico, and the big state of Texas to reach our destination in eastern Texas, almost to the Louisiana border along the Gulf of Mexico.   We drove our RV and stayed at the High Island RV Park, which was fantastic and so ultra convenient.
High Island Living during our month in Texas

The birding was some of the best in years, according to the Houston Audubon and Field Guides, and the focus of our trip was to see many of the eastern warblers.  Also nearby was the Bolivar Peninsula, Lafitte's Cove in Galveston, and the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge... which we all enjoyed and saw many fantastic birds. 

We observed 28 different species of warblers... out of 174 total species seen.  We will be back!

Indigo Bunting

Bay-breasted Warbler

Hooded Warbler

Blue-winged Warbler

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Roseate Spoonbill


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sea Otter kills Red-breasted Merganser

22 February 2013

I spent the morning birding & photographing at Moss Landing & Elkhorn Slough, when to my horror I witnessed a certainly unusual event...

A California Sea Otter caught and killed a male Red-breasted Merganser in the Moss Landing harbor.

After the otter attacked the merganser, he was able to get free for a few seconds, but the otter was able to swim faster and quickly recaptured the duck.  It appeared that the merganser at that point was unable to fly... only able to splash frantically and try to escape.  If that wasn't sad enough, I then noticed a female merganser swimming all alone nearby looking everywhere...

I thought otters eat sea urchins, clams, mussels, etc... not ducks.  I had never seen such behavior!


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Arctic Loon - Monterey Harbor

A few days ago local birders found an ARCTIC LOON in Monterey, California harbor near Wharf 2.

So this afternoon I joined several other birders to go to Monterey and hopefully find this important bird.  It was a dreary overcast day with some drizzle at times, and after almost four hours of searching all around harbor... just as we were about to give up... the ARCTIC LOON was again spotted very close to the wharf!   It dives for several minutes and it swims underwater quite a ways... so you never are quite sure where it is going to re-appear again.  Luckily, about an hour before darkness, we all were thrilled to finally observe this quite rare bird for California!   Success!

ARCTIC LOON - Monterey, California harbor