Seeing some interesting seabirds, marine mammals and sea turtles

Over the past six days, observers Timothy White and Glen Davis have been working together from sunrise to sunset to collect abundance and distribution data of seabirds, marine mammals and sea turtles from the Gunter’s flying bridge. This project is an extension of the Atlantic Marine Assessment Program for Protected Species (AMAPPS), which is an ongoing partnership between BOEM and NOAA. Timothy and Glen report high diversity and abundance in transitional waters and zones characterized by steep temperature and salinity gradients.

observers

Observers Timothy White (right) and Glen Davis (left) at work on the flying bridge.

The following species list is rapidly growing and includes unique seabirds not often observed on the shelf:  Trinidade Petrel, White-tailed Tropicbird, Black-capped Petrel, Brown Booby, South Polar Skua, Manx Shearwater, Arctic and Common Terns, Pomarine Jaeger, Band-rumped Storm-Petrel, Audubon’s Shearwater, Leach’s and Wilson’s Storm-Petrel, and Cory’s and Great Shearwaters — the last four are notably migrating to the north widely through the area.

birds

Numerous Great (left) and Cory’s Shearwaters (right) have been observed migrating north over Gulf Stream waters.  Great Shearwaters breed on sub-Antarctic islands. Cory’s Shearwaters breed in warmer waters on islands in the eastern Atlantic.  Both species are abundant on Georges Bank in summer where they feed on fish. Photo by Glen Davis.

petrel

Endangered black-capped petrels (white-faced morph pictured) were observed on multiple days over well-mixed waters. Photo by Glen Davis.

brown booby

A 1st year Brown Booby from the Caribbean. Photo by Glen Davis.

storm petrels

Band-rumped storm petrels originate on islands in the eastern Atlantic and are abundant in the Gulf Stream. Photo by Glen Davis.

Pomarine Jaeger.jpg

A 1st year Pomarine Jaeger molting feathers.  This bird was born in the Arctic. At sea, Pomarine Jaegers are kleptoparasitic, which means they pirate food from other seabirds.Photo by Glen Davis.

As of June 15, marine mammals sightings include: Sperm Whales, Killer Whales, Striped, Atlantic Spotted, and Bottlenose Dolphins. Loggerhead Sea Turtles have also been observed.

striped dolphins.jpg

These striped dolphins were members of a large pod that consisted of ~ 200 individuals. Photo by Glen Davis.

loggerhead

A loggerhead sea turtle in warm, blue Gulf Stream water. Photo by Glen Davis.

Tim White
Aboard the NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter, GU1702

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