As you probably gathered from yesterday's posting, I didn't think we'd get out today. So what do I know? Seven hardy VSO members boarded Brian Patteson's boat, the Stormy Petrel, just a bit after 6:00 am and shortly thereafter we were underway .... in the dark. We stayed inside until the boat made it through the inlet. The first Razorbill was seen soon after that and the fun had begun. The rain held off until afternoon as did the higher wind velocity. Brian took us northeast along the coast where over 100 Razorbills were seen. Then a few Dovekies popped up. Chumming brought in many birds, mostly Herring and Great Black-back Gulls and Northern Gannets. But among them were an Iceland Gull and Manx and Greater Shearwaters. We made it out to the Gulf Stream where we cruised the boundary for a time. Among the Bonaparte's Gulls working the weed line were a half dozen Atlantic Puffins and a dozen Red Phalaropes. With the wind rising and the rain beginning, we headed south still vigorously chumming. And it paid off. Out of the gray came a large dark seabird on powerful wings....a Great Skua, my number one target bird for this trip (net photo). Brain turned the boat around and brought us quite close to the skua. During the day he also manuevered the boat to give us great looks at all the pelagic species. I had purposely left my camera in the car because I thought conditions were going to be wet and windy and not conducive to good picture-taking. With the great looks we had at all those birds I think I could somehow have managed.
Species total is now 291. We'll go over 300 in Arizona, our next out-of-the area trip; we'll be there next Monday night.