The See Life Paulagics trip on The Voyager targeting deep water off the
continental shelf (in NY and NJ waters) sailed in calm conditions August
17th/18th out of Pt. Pleasant NJ. The extended 32 hour trip encountered a
broad mix of birds, cetaceans, turtles and other sea life.
The trip got off to a great start before we even reached the shelf edge
with close flyby's of Audubon's Shearwater and White-faced Storm-Petrel
amongst flocks of Wilson's Storm-Petrels. Multiple Fin Whales were seen in
this area as well.
Once in the deep we started to see Band-rumped and Leach's Storm-Petrels
and small numbers of Great and Cory's Shearwaters, with one of the Cory's
being of the Scopoli's subspecies.
The evening chum slick in NY waters brought extended views of these species
while a large pod of Striped Dolphin cavorted near the boat. Spotted
Dolphin and Cuvier's Beaked Whales investigated the slick as well.
We headed south overnight and set another slick in NJ waters where activity
started well before sun up. A White-faced Storm-Petrel came to the slick
under the lights of the boat while a few leaders were fishing around 2am.
As it became light enough to see it quickly became apparent there were
dozens of Wilson's Storm-Petrels in the slick and Band-rumpeds, and to a
lesser extent Leach's, were flying in regularly. A close pass of Audubon's
Shearwater and Black-capped Petrel coincided with a stunning sunrise.
Both Barn and Cliff Swallows were seen 100 and 80 miles from shore,
Another extremely confiding White-faced Storm-Petrel was in view for over
15 minutes as we worked the shelf edge near the Tom's Canyon. A brief query
of a few photographers on board revealed a range of photographs of this
individual bird between 500 and 1100 per person.

The rarest sighting of the trip was was a well documented Band-rumped
Storm-Petrel inshore along the 30 fathom line (180ft of water) in NJ. Our
understanding of this species' distribution in NY/NJ waters has increased
tremendously over the last 5 years. The bedrock of that understanding was
that it occurs in deep, blue water at or off the continental shelf edge.
Outside of tropic storms, this record appears to be the only photo
documented record of the species in inshore waters of NY/NJ in eBird and
goes to show how the only way we can add to our understanding is by being
out there!
We can also help protect these and other species while at home with choices
we make. The running trip tally of mylar balloons floating on the surface
was 47. These, in addition to other floating debris were in areas where sea
turtle and cetacean numbers were highest.

A few hourly checklists with notable sightings and photos can be seen here:

Species totals:
Wilson's Storm Petrel   1451
Band-rumped Storm Petrel   42
Leach's Storm Petrel   7
White-faced Storm Petrel   4
Black-capped Petrel 1

Great Shearwater   13
Cory's Shearwater   31
Cory's/Scopoli's   1
Audubon's Shearwater   2

Black Tern   5
Common/Arctic Tern   1
Lesser Black-backed Gull   1
Great Black-backed Gull   3
Laughing Gull   4

Red-necked Phalarope   1
Barn Swallow  1
Cliff Swallow   1

Other sea life:
Loggerhead Sea Turtle  9
Inshore Bottlenose Dolphin  12
Common Dolphin  35
Striped Dolphin  80
Spotted Dolphin  9
Risso's Dolphin  3
Fin Whale  5
Cuvier's Beaked Whale  4
Pilot Whale  70
Ocean Sunfish
Cow-nosed Rays  30
Marlin  2
Hammerhead Shark Sp.
Shark Sp.
Mahi Mahi
Flying Fish (numerous)
Painted Lady
Cloudless Sulphur
Moth sp.
Wandering Glider


Sean Sime
Brooklyn, NY


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