Friday 9 March 2012

Pelagic speculation

Today (this is a pre-written blog post) I'm joining a group of S'pore birders on a pelagic in the Singapore Straits.
They've been doing them about once monthly since October 2010. I went back to look through the results to see what is possible for this region.

The verdict?
Well March seems to be the worst of the months based on a sample size of 1. But there's still lots of potential and as far as I understand we'll be exploring different parts of the ocean. I'm still very optimistic. Seabirds are notoriously unpredictable!

This isn't Newfoundland where the seabirds come to the land:

Several species of Tern are possible. The most common seem to be Lesser and Great Crested Terns, but some of the more exciting ones include Bridled Tern, Black-naped Tern, Sooty Tern and Aleutian Tern. The person organizing this trip really wants to see Aleutian Tern, which is fine by me because I really want to see one as well!

Jaegers are possible but unlikely. It seems they only see them on about 1/4 of trips. Parasitic and Pomarine are the most likely ones. Some other randoms include Lesser Frigatebird and Red-necked Phalarope (only 2 records in S'pore!)

It doesn't seem that Albatross is a possibility in the region. But they're known to wander so there's always some potential.

The top three species that I want to see and were seen last year:
1 - Aleutian Tern
2 - Swinhoe's Storm-Petrel
3 - Short-tailed Shearwater

Aleutian Tern - a difficult bird to see if you don't live along the coast of Alaska:
Photo from here

Swinhoe's - I have a liking for Storm-Petrels:
Photo from here

Short-tailed Shearwater - pretty much the only shearwater that has been seen around here (surprisingly!):
Photo from here

Check out this post of one of the previous trips made by a group of photographers.

I'll post the results tomorrow!

Greater Shearwater in NL during an amazing few days - in August of last year - when thousands of Shearwaters congregated to feed on spawning capelin mere meters from a beach (an annual occurrence there but rarely accessible):