[CT Birds] Gloucester Cod boat Shearwaters

kmueller at ntplx.net kmueller at ntplx.net
Sat Jul 12 08:08:35 EDT 2014

On the Yankee Clipper (from the Yankee Fleet) yesterday (Friday) to  
Tillies Bank, it was the best Shearwater showing I have ever had on  
this vessel while codfishing. The birds started appearing on the way  
out at 7:00 am with Thatchers Island still visible in the distance and  
continued steady all day long. The largest  concentrations were seen a  
mile or two before Tillies Bank with birds virtually covering the  
water as far as you could see in every direction. Flying birds were  
non-stop throughout the day often in continuous small groups. In the  
late afternoon on the way back to port the fish-cleaning activities on  
the stern attracted an unbelievable number of Shearwaters dropping in  
among the frenzied Gulls in the boat's wake. At one point, a massive  
amount of rafted Shearwaters were visible in every direction  
surrounding the boat. The Shearwaters continued following the stern of  
the Clipper until about two miles from the entrance to the harbor.  
Whales were plentiful throughout the day often close to the anchored  
vessel. Great Shearwaters were the prevalent species, much fewer  
numbers of Sooty and Cory's. I only saw 1 Manx for the day. Wilson's  
Storm-Petrels were sporadic, but all seen on Tillies Bank area while  
fishing. The most unusual sighting I had for the day was a single  
LEACH'S STORM-PETREL flying in the distance on Tillies heading west.  
No Gannets seen.

Highlights: (These numbers are approx, not meticulously counted) Great  
Shearwater- 4,350 (conservative count- probably higher, birds were  
continuous throughout the day just about everywhere in every direction  
sitting on the sea and flying in all directions- two very large rafts  
seen quite spread out), Sooty Shearwater- 235, Cory's Shearwater- 165,  
Manx Shearwater-1, Wilson's Storm-Petrels- 350, LEACH'S  
STORM_PETREL-1, Common Tern-2, Laughing Gull-3, Humback Whale- 18,  
Unidentified Whale species- 3, probable Pilot Whales- 3, Haddock and  
Codfishing was excellent!

I will post photos in a few days on my Facebook page.

Keith Mueller
Killingworth, CT

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