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September 15, 2006 Pelagic trip from Crandon Park Marina, Miami
We left Crandon Park Marina at 7:00 a.m., we traveled past a small island near the marina with hundreds of roosting birds.  Many Double-crested Cormorants, White Ibis, Herons, Egrets etc.  We had several Magnificent Frigatebirds some with their pouches inflated!!  We then traveled out to Fowey Light in hopes of seeing Brown Boobies which usually are present.  Double-crested Cormorants and Royal Terns, Laughing Gulls and a lone Magnificent Frigatebird were all that were present.  We then went in a southeast direction heading to deeper water.  We made it to the edge of the Gulf Stream and found a nice line of Sargasso weed. We cruised this area finding a nice flock of 14 Red-necked Phalaropes sitting on the water.

Red-necked Phalaropes


We cruised around this area and had a couple of Sooty Terns fly by.  We then saw the first of several Cory's Shearwaters, the first one gave us pretty good looks but later we had even better looks.

Cory's Shearwater

We then traveled out to deeper water looking for more cool birds. Eagle-eye Brennan Mulrooney spotted a Jaeger in the distance.  The boat captain, Roberto Torres, sped in the direction of the Jaeger. As we approached closer to the Jaeger, it landed in the water!  This was really nice as we could now study the bird to see which species it was.  I struggled to get my camera and lens ready for photos, I was not fast enough to get one of it sitting in the water but was able to get a few flight shots.  As I was focusing the camera on the bird, Brennan yelled Parasitic Jaeger which is not that common in South Florida.  It was nice that it was an adult which helps to make a positive I.D.

Parasitic Jaeger




This poor photo below just happened to catch the best field mark for the bird -- its tail!

This was an exciting bird for all of us especially me because I had never gotten a good look at one here in Florida.  Most South Florida Jaegers are Pomarine.  Brennan spotted another Jaeger species which may have been a Pomarine which was harassing a Magnificent Frigatebird!  What a gutsy bird to be chasing a bird so much larger than it is.  It was too far to be sure which species it was.  We traveled as far as 15-miles from shore in search of other birds.  We had several Black Terns fly by and a few Bridled Terns, as well as a few more Sooty Terns.

Black Tern


Bridled Tern
(immature)

We chummed in a few areas but did not have much luck like I have had on other trips.  The chumming may have helped bring the Parasitic Jaeger in.  We went closer to shore to find another Sargasso weed line and saw some more Bridled Terns and Cory's Shearwaters.  We traveled back in the direction of Fowey Light hoping to find Brown Boobies, but we had not luck.  We did however see this Common Tern below.

Common Tern


We also had this small flock of Caspian Terns which was a first for the many pelagic trips that I have run!

Caspian Tern


Here is a list of the birds seen on this trip.
Magnificent Frigatebird (58)
Cory's Shearwater (6)
Parasitic Jaeger (1)
Pomarine Jaeger (1) probable
Bridled Tern (10)
Sooty Tern (37)
Red-necked Phalarope (14)
 Common Tern (1)
Black Tern (13)
Caspian Tern (4)
Merlin (1) out over deep water
I will be posting new dates for my 2007 pelagic trips soon!!
 
 

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