[CT Birds] BBC Pelagic Trips -- Reaching Massachusetts Final Avian Frontier

Nick Bonomo nbonomo at gmail.com
Tue Jun 23 20:24:56 EDT 2009

The following is posted for Jeremiah Trimble and the BBC:

Hello All,I know that many of you have had the pleasure and shared the
excitement of birding in Massachusetts offshore waters on a BBC Extreme
Pelagic Trip.  These trips truly offer a unique opportunity to explore areas
that very few birders get to visit.  As others have mentioned and as most of
you know, this means that there are a lot of exciting possibilities for bird

Aside from the more usual offshore species such as Cory's (borealis),
Greater, Sooty and Manx Shearwaters, Wilson's Storm-Petrel, Parasitic and
Pomarine Jaegers, etc, these trips offer the opportunity to regularly see
some species that do not occur in near shore waters or even waters that are
reachable by whale watch boats.  Such species include Audubon's Shearwater,
Leach's Storm-Petrel, and Long-tailed Jaeger.  Even more unusual species
have been seen on more than one of these trips including Band-rumped
Storm-Petrel, Bridled Tern, and White-faced Storm-Petrel and one trip had
both species of large Skua (Great and South Polar).

Of course, the excitement of a 'mega' species is the most thrilling aspect
of the BBC Extreme Pelagic Trips.  Most amazing, was the Macaronesian
Shearwater that was sighted and fully documented on the August 25, 2007 BBC
trip.  As incredible as this was, when one considers how rarely we reach
these waters, it illustrates how many 'megas' there are out there for us to
find; we just need to get there!

I am sure that most of you are aware of the regular pelagic trips that are
run out of North Carolina each year.  Over the years these trips have
yielded countless remarkable sightings.  I believe that Massachusetts, and
New England in general, has equal potential for such sightings.  Speaking of
North Carolina pelagics, this year alone they have had sightings of Bermuda
(including 3 in one day!!), Fea's, Trinidade, and Black-capped Petrels,
European Storm-Petrel (!!), Swinhoe's Storm-Petrel (one of only a handful of
records for the US!), Red-billed Tropicbird, South Polar Skuas (up to 20 in
a day!), and many others.  All of these species are possible off
Massachusetts and some could be even more likely.  Bermuda is just as close
to MA waters as it is to North Carolina's, as is Europe!

[I did not even get into the myriad of others groups of animals that
highlight these trips including Sperm Whale, Risso's Dolphins, Pilot Whales,
sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, Manta Rays, flying fish, etc, etc, etc]

It is very unfortunate that we were unable to run the June pelagic trip due
to a lack of participants, but I hope that you will sign up for the
remaining scheduled trips detailed below.  I think that together we can
really improve our knowledge of offshore Massachusetts waters and enjoy some
unique and truly impressive sightings of birds.

One important thing to note is that we need to have people sign up well in
advance of the date of the trips.  Ida and the BBC as well as the folks at
the Helen H need to have a count of people in order to plan for the trip and
make sure that we are a go.  So, please send your reservations to Ida as
soon as possible and at least 3-4 weeks in advance of the trip.  The July
trip is only about 4 weeks away at this point and still needs people to sign
up.  I look forward to seeing you all on board!

{See Information Below}

Good Birding,

Jeremiah Trimble
Cambridge, MA


*Departure point:* Helen H Dock, 136 Pleasant St., Hyannis, MA

*Destination:* Hydrographer, Veatch's and Atlantis Canyons (90 miles east of
Nantucket, MA).

*Trip organizer:* Ida Giriunas <ida8 at verizon.net>, (781) 929-8772

*Dates of 2009 trips:* July 18, trip length: 18 hours. Overnight Aug. 22 &
23, 2009, trip length: 42 hrs.

*Costs:* July: $120 members/$140 nonmembers will be adjusted for inflation
or extra fuel expense. August: $290 members, $310 nonmembers

*Leaders:* Rick Heil, Steve Mirick, Jeremiah Trimble and Marshall Iliff.

*Boat:* The Helen H is a Chartered, comfortable, fast, 100-foot boat with
padded bunks with an enthusiastic and experienced captain & crew.

*Expected:* Cory's, Greater, Sooty, Manx, and Audubon's Shearwaters. Leach's
Storm-Petrel and all three jaegers.

*Rare birds seen:* Macaronesian Shearwater (2007); White-faced Storm-Petrel
(2006); Band-rumped Storm-Petrel (2004, 2008); both skuas (2004); Bridled
Tern (2006, 2007, 2008).
*Marine mammals & fishes:* Fin, Humpback, Minke, Long-finned Pilot, Beaked
and Sperm Whales. Grampus, Saddle-back, and Bottlenose Dolphins. Basking,
Blue, Mako, and Hammerhead Sharks. Tuna. Loggerhead Turtle

Jeremiah Trimble
Curatorial Associate - Ornithology
Museum of Comparative Zoology
Harvard University
26 Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
phone: 617-495-2471
fax: 617-495-5667
email: jtrimble at oeb.harvard.edu

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