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June 28th Birdwatching Update by Naturalist Peter Trull

On June 28, the day broke with heavy fog.  Fog occurs when evaporating water vapor condenses immediately over the cool ocean water to form water droplets we know as fog.  Typically, water evaporates, and through the process of convection, rises in the atmosphere until it reaches a cool enough temperature to condense into droplets forming a cloud.  Observe the bottoms of some cumulus clouds and you will see that they appear flat.  That’s because at that altitude, the air has reached a cool enough temperature for the evaporating water vapor to condense into droplets.  When fog forms, that condensation takes place very low in the atmosphere;  at the waters’ surface, forming the cloud we call fog.  Fog made it very tough to find whales on his day, although by using our auditory sense more than our visual acuity, we found Fin-back Whales and Pete, our Captain, provided us with excellent views.   Birds were hard to observe at a distance in the dense fog, but a good diversity of shearwaters, including Cory’s Shearwater, typically found in warmer waters south of Martha’s Vineyard, were recorded very close to the vessel.  14 Cory’s Shearwaters, 16 Greater Shearwaters, 3 Sooty Shearwaters, 1 Manx Shearwater, 45 Wilson’s Storm-petrels and 2 Common Terns were visible in the pea soup.  Let’s hope for some clearer weather in the days to come.