02/08/2016

Our pelagic out of Cape May on Sat, Feb 6, 2016 was a resounding success with the best bird of the trip being, hands down, a GREAT SKUA. The last accepted record for New Jersey was in 2000.

Great Skua by Thomas Gleason

Great Skua by Thomas Gleason

This was not the only highlight, though. We had a gull that looked pretty good for THAYER’S GULL but due to review of the photos and not having every mark lining up (as one wants for an East Coast Thayer’s), we are leaving this one unidentified. Alcids put on a good showing with nearly 200 DOVEKIES, over 20 ATLANTIC PUFFINS, flocks of flyby RAZORBILLS, and a cooperative COMMON MURRE on the way back in. We also had over a dozen NORTHERN FULMARS including one dark morph birds. The NORTHERN GANNET and BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE show at the back of the boat was astounding, causing photographers to fill cards and wonder how they heck they were going to sort all of those shots when they got home. On top of all that, the weather was very pleasant for a February NJ boat trip sailing 60 miles off of the coast, where the water was over 50 degrees!

Razor Bill by Thomas Gleason

Razor Bill by Thomas Gleason

Here are the final tallies of what was seen beyond the Cape May jetties.

Surf Scoter 14
White-winged Scoter 13
Black Scoter 3
Surf/Black Scoter 32
Red-throated Loon 23
Common Loon 59
Northern Fulmar 15
Northern Gannet 85
Great Skua 1
Dovekie 195
Common Murre 1
Razorbill 109
Atlantic Puffin 21
Black-legged Kittiwake 12
Bonaparte’s Gull 5
Ring-billed Gull 14
Herring Gull 50
Lesser Black-backed Gull 1
Iceland (Kumliens) Gull poss kumlien X thayer 1 (TBD)
Great Black-backed Gull 65

Fin Whale 2
Minke Whale 1

Although our winter schedule is over, we’ll be starting back up in May with trips out of Cape May, Lewes, Brooklyn, and 3 trips in the Outer Banks over Memorial Day weekend aboard the famed Country Girl!

Hopefully we’ll see some of you aboard at a great time of year to be at sea.

Paul Guris, Leader at See Life Paulagics Birding Tour Company