Gulls and Gannets

More news from  Chief Scientist Jerry Prezioso aboard the Bigelow on the HB1701 Winter Ecosystem Monitoring Survey (EcoMon):

Our Canadian Wildlife Service Seabird and marine mammal observer, Holly Hogan, has been steadily working through all these conditions, and has provided a brief summary of what she’s seen so far.  Here is her update:

“Here’s a little flavour of what’s been going on at the surface!

Northern Gannets have been seen on all days of the cruise so far.  As far as gulls go, there have been the usual suspects, seen regularly: Herring Gull and Great Black-backed Gull.
holly-hogan-3-rd

Holly Hogan at her observation post on the bridge of the Henry Bigelow.  She records her observations with a voice recorder and laptop. Photo by Jerry Prezioso,  NEFSC/NOAA Fisheries

On the day we left port at Newport (February 11), there were Northern Gannets, and some of the alcids that you expect in the northern parts of the cruise: Common Murre and Atlantic Puffin.
On Feb. 12, Northern Gannets were common all day. When we were closer to shore there were Common Loons and even a Black Scoter, a seaduck normally associated with coastal waters.  Common Murres were seen again as well.
Feb. 13 was a stormy day.  Sightings on the surface would be difficult; you always miss things in these conditions.  However, there were many Northern Gannets seen, especially near the shelf edge.  There was also a Red-throated Loon seen, which is smaller and more delicate than Common Loons.
On Feb.14 there were Northern Gannets and some of the alcids as well: Two Dovekies (a tiny seabird that breeds in the high arctic) and Atlantic Puffin. Common Dolphins were also seen in small groups.
On February 15, the water was calm for the whole day – excellent observing conditions. Northern Gannets were by far the most common species seen. Common Loons were also seen regularly.  The shipping lanes to New York City were pretty quiet for seabirds.  There was one alcid species seen: One lone razorbill.  It may not have been well, as it did not try to fly or dive from the ship, the normal behavior when the ship is in close range.  There were also excellent whale sightings:  A total of three fin whales, one humpback and one minke were observed.
So far today it’s been gull and gannets.  Lots of day ahead though!”
Holly Hogan
Canadian Wildlife Service

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