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July 4 and 5 Bird Update by Naturalist Peter Trull

Birds – July 4 and 5

Whale watch trips this summer have provided a steady (expected) variety of pelagic birds. Noteworthy is the continual, albeit fluctuating occurrence of Cory’s Shearwaters. These large, relatively pale brown shearwaters, are easily identified to species by their pale, yellowish bill.  They are scarce among the darker Greater Shearwaters, but they ARE present.  Cory’s are associated with warmer waters, typically south of Martha’s Vineyard and my experience associated them with years of many Finback Whales, which is the case so far this June and July.   I observed the first Pomarine Jaeger of the season yesterday (July 4th) big, hard flying, on a determined northeast course, hardly flinching among the hundreds of terns off the race.  With the month of July upon us, we can expect to see an increase in the diversity of birds off shore. Noteworthy are the kleptoparasitic jaegers.  These arctic nesters are beginning to move south now and can be observed harassing terns, forcing the smaller, fish-eating divers to drop or even disgorge their sandeels or other small fish.  The parasitic Jaeger is the most active and commonly seen, while the larger, robust, Pomarine Jaeger may be seen patrolling Race Point and off-shore waters.  Look for any chasing activity and note the larger bird, dark mantled and hawk-like, pale underneath with white flashes at the base of the primaries.      Here are my sightings for Friday and Saturday, July 4 and 5.


July 4, Southeast edge of Stellwagen Bank.

Greater Shearwater 335

Sooty Shearwater  270

Manx Shearwater   3

Cory’s Shearwater  2

Wilson’s Storm-petrel  45

Northern Gannet 2 – both 2nd year

Laughing Gulls  80

Common Terns,  375

July 5th southeast edge and over stellwagen bank. Southeast and agitated seas early then flat seas by 1400

Greater Shearwater 600

Sooty Shearwater 225

Cory’s Shearwater 9

Manx Shearwater 1

Wilson’s Storm -petrel 900

Common Tern 600+

Roseate Tern 5

Pomerine Jaeger 1

Northern Gannet – 2