Tuesday, 19 May 2015

The WPO: at sea en route to Yokohama.

 Getting the shader up- not an easy task!
Shade makes life a lot easier!
Mark & Kat

 Matsudaira’s Storm Petrel

The 1st May: White Rabbits day! Up at the crack of dawn & on the monkey deck. Quiet but interesting, with the first of many Matsudaira’s Storm Petrels being seen. This was one of my key birds for this leg of the trip & by at the end of the day I had logged 10+ birds.

 Masked Booby

Brown Booby
 Red-footed Booby

Red-tailed Tropicbird

 White-necked Petrel

Other good species included three species of Booby & a fly-by Red-tailed Tropicbird. A slightly out of range White-necked Petrel was also seen.

Kat asking who wants ice cream?
Nice hair do girlie!

Dawn at sea in the Pacific Ocean. Whow!
This is why I travel!

 Adult Red-footed Booby
 Immature Red-footed Booby
Several Red-footed Boobies roosted on the mast.

 Wedge-tailed Shearwater

 These pale morphs are really quite smart

Bannerman's Shearwater
Black undertail coverts
 Paler grey around sides of head & nape
 Distinctive under-wing pattern

 White saddlebags prominent.
Please forgive all the photos, but this is a
 rarely identified species.

2nd May it is dawn & I am on the monkey bridge. At first birding is slow, but gets rather exciting quite quickly, as the first of several Bannerman's Shearwaters fly by.

 Matsudaira’s Storm Petrels

Matsudaira’s Storm Petrels are also much in evidence.

 Bulwer's Petrel
 This is a shy species, always keeping its distance
 from the ship.

Bonin Petrel - look at that funky under-wing!

A couple of Bulwer’s Petrels then the first of many Bonin Petrels flew by.

 South Polar Skua terrorizing a Red-footed Booby

 It got the fish.
 Pale morph individual.

A pale phase South Polar Skua gave the semi resident Boobies a bit of a scare!

 Here they come!

Just a part of the flock.

 Matsudaira's Storm Petrel

Chris & Sav threw a chumming concoction overboard late afternoon & it worked! 72 Matsudaira’s Storm Petrels arrived almost instantly. Brilliant stuff!

 Pretending to be Shearwaters!
I get the feeling, that these girls are not taking
 this rare seabird thingy very seriously!
The end of yet another memorable day.
One can just see the Bonin Islands in the distance.

3rd May & we are still sailing north towards the Bonin Islands. The sea is calm & we see birds continuously throughout the day. But the first decent sighting is of a Sperm Whale breaching mid distance. Not a bad start before breakfast!

 Sperm Whale
It's gone, on one of its super deep dives.

 Bonin Perrel

We also enjoyed good numbers of Bonin Petrels throughout the morning & by the days end had totaled over 200 birds.

Kat looking at........

 Short-beaked Common Dolphin

Omura's Whale: part of a three way split
 of Bryde's Whale

It was a hot, sunny day, just perfect for cetaceans & for seeing storm-petrels.

 Tristram's Storm Petrel

 Matsudaira's Storm Petrel

 Today was a day of lots & lots of Storm Petrels: 102 Tristram’s; 130+ Matsudaira’s & another 100+ not identified to species.

 Black-footed Albatross

We also run into our first albatrosses since the southern oceans: 10+ Black-footed Albatross put on a bit of a show for us all.
At the day’s end I spot a Bryan’s Shearwater: one of the rarest species on this planet! I spent all my time getting all the identification features on it, so didn't get a photo! But Jan did though!We go to the bar, it is time to celebrate!
 We call it a day at dusk, ready for the possibility of one of the rarest seabirds in the world in the morning! What a great day!

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