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New England Seabirds

 Wilson's Storm-petrel  Dave Jones

Trip Reports

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Rick Heil's
Drake Passage CBC

December 2001


Antarctic Peninsula  December 2001
I did have a very good, though at times exhausting, trip. We worked twelve hour shifts collecting data off Elephant Island in the South Shetlands (off the Antarctic Peninsula), sometimes under difficult conditions (winds to 70 mph, and seas of more than twenty feet crashing over the bow and stern).

Many days were nice however, and the birds made it all more than worth it. I never got seasick although many did. It was said that there was the most ice in seven years in the vicinity of Palmer Station, and in Bransfield Strait, Gerlache Strait, and the Neumayer Channel. Consequently we had unusual numbers of both Snow Petrel (max. day count=100+), and Antarctic Petrel (max. day count=40) in these areas.

Drake Passage CBC
On our return we did a CBC on 12/26 in the northern Drake.,

26 DECEMBER 2001 (0400-2130 hrs.)
From 56 41.8’S, 64 58.3’W due north to 54 28’S, northeast of Cape San Diego. WEATHER: Partly cloudy, NW 15-30 mph, 40-48F.
Observers: Richard S. Heil, Richard R. Veit, Jarrod Santora, Andrew Bernick

Magellanic Penguin (24)
Rockhopper Penguin (54)
Penguin sp. (5)
Wandering Albatross (8)
Northern Royal Albatross (4): sanfordi
Southern Royal Albatross (12):
Great albatross sp (3) ¹
Black-browed Albatross (780)
Grey-headed Albatross (3)
Light-mantled Sooty Albatross (1)
Northern Giant Petrel (7)
Southern Giant Petrel (5)
Giant petrel sp. (18)
Cape Petrel (7)
Blue Petrel (103)
Prion sp. (1)
White-chinned Petrel (14)
Greater Shearwater (55)
Sooty Shearwater (22,750): Majority in vicinity of Cape San Diego and Estrecho de le Maire. Many huge rafts on water but also a massive feeding assemblage in the rips just off the cape.
Manx Shearwater (3): Rare this far south(?); One as far as 54 33’S, 64 58’W.
Wilson’s Storm-petrel (129)
Black-bellied Storm-petrel (1)
Magellanic Diving-petrel (1)
Diving-petrel sp. (24)
King Shag (51)
Chilean Skua (3)
Skua sp. (3)
Kelp Gull (7)
South American Tern (3)

24 species, 24,079 individuals.

¹ Great albatross sp. refers to any of the following:
Wandering Albatross (8)
Northern Royal Albatross (4): sanfordi
Southern Royal Albatross (12): epomophora

Page Author: Rick Heil  from E-mail Message 1/13/2002

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