Phil Rusch, Glenn Williams, Brendan Murtha, John Vanderpoel, myself and others headed out of Galilee RI for a stab at some of the more uncommon winter alcids, any bird in the Stercorariidae family (although I’m sure Great Skua led the list for most) and anything else that might be out there. In short, it was the least-successful pelagic I’ve ever been on, but, as I mentioned to Phil and Glenn, there was really no other place I would’ve wanted to be that day. The thrilling adventure and large swells (which caused the trip to feel more like a visit to a theme park than a pelagic at times) alone made it a very worthwhile experience, and there were definitely some avian highlights as well.
The definite downside of those large swells was that we were never able to reach Mud Hole and other areas in its vicinity. Most of the time we spent actually watching birds was in the calm waters right off Block Island where we spent some time chumming.
Highlights included all three Scoter species (predominantly Black), Cory’s, Great and Manx Shearwaters, 30+ Northern Gannets, including a number of individuals that put on an incredible show while we were chumming, Black-legged Kittiwake (one of my favorite gulls), Iceland Gull (a nice 1st cycle bird just inches from the waiting lenses), Lesser Black-backed Gull (an adult and 1st cycle, the young bird providing terrific looks and comparisons with the adjacent GBBGs and HEGUs while chumming), Razorbill and Dovekie (two birds seen flying away at distance). Click here for the day’s checklist.
Photos below (click for larger views!):
Can’t wait for the next one!