Sunset at Sea
HOW FAR DO WE GO OUT and WHY DO WE GO OUT SO FAR?
A recurring question we get is “how far do you go out?” On these trips the destination is decided on water depth and getting out to the edge of the Continental Shelf. Distance depends upon the port of departure, but we expect to be roughly 100 miles offshore at daybreak.
Experience has taught us that being in and near the very deep water past the Continental Shelf gives us better chances at certain species that seem to be tied to deep water. For example, Band-rumped Storm-Petrel is a bird that appears to be highly associated with deep water. Once considered to be extremely rare in our area and almost strictly associated with hurricanes, since extending the distance of our trips we’ve discovered that it is actually quite regular in at least small numbers and sometimes by the dozens.
Being out at daybreak allows us to spend time attracting birds right away. We have found that Leach’s Storm-Petrel in particular is most active for the few hours after first light, and our success at finding this species has jumped by being out there early. Likely these birds are nocturnal feeders and sit on the water to roost as the day progresses.
Once we leave our furthest destination, we work back through the highly productive waters inside the edge of the Continental Shelf. Other species such as White-faced Storm-Petrel and South Polar Skua are found more regularly in these shallower, though still deep, waters. The result is that we get to cover a variety of depths and long stretches of ocean on our return.
So if you’re looking for a pelagic birding adventure with a good chance of finding some seldom seen birds for our area, we hope you’ll join us on one of our future trips.
Freeport to Hudson Canyon 8/11/2014 & 8/12/2014