Less than an hour out of the dock, we had brief glimpses of two juvenile Sooty Terns as they flew behind the stern of the boat. A couple of hours later, we were offered the best bird looks of the day when two Cory's Shearwaters landed near the boat. The birds stayed for 5 or 10 minutes and obliged us all with close views.
|Short-finned Pilot Whale|
For the rest of the afternoon, we cruised just off of the continental shelf. We saw a few more storm petrels, although these were usually too far out to confidently identify to species. We had an Audubon's Shearwater fly by very close to the bow of the boat and a Pomarine Jaeger was seen just as we started to head back to the coast. As we got within an hour of the dock, we were able to see several Black Terns in addition to the Royal and Sandwich Terns that had been with us for most of the day. I imagine that some of the more seasoned pelagic birders may have been a bit disappointed with the number of species we saw, but I had never seen most of these birds before, and although many did not offer great looks, I was still super excited over the experience.
|Laughing Gulls, Royal and Sandwich Terns|
On either side of the pelagic, I did some birding around the Lower Rio Grande Valley. I'll get to all that business in the next post.