Friday, June 29, 2012

28 June 2012: Pelagic off Tanjung Dawai, Kedah

I wasn't expecting much today, and was pleasantly surprised to have my expectations exceeded!

These two Long-tailed Skuas were flushed by the boat before 8 a.m., an unusually early start to proceedings.

A brisk southerly wind built up during the day, and a succession of thundery squalls interrupted the bright sunshine.

This made for interesting lighting and a cool breeze throughout the day - very pleasant.
What a difference a ray makes! Two Bridled Terns taken within three minutes of each other! Bridled were the predominant tern on show today - about 120 or so.
Two juvenile Sooty Terns. The first is still in complete juvenile plumage; the lower two photos show the second bird, already in moult. The patches of white are caused by feather bases being exposed by missing feathers above.
A sight often searched for - the diminutive form of a petrel skimming the waves!
A Swinhoe's Storm-petrel - the first of 3, though technically, the other two were too far away to go down as anything but "dark-rumped storm-petrel - probably Swinhoe's". These are my first in the area, and over a month after I would expect the main passage period to be. Perhaps the southerly winds and fog-like haze of the last few weeks have  held some up.
Another surprise - two Short-tailed Shearwaters. It doesn't look as though these two are going to make it to the Bering Sea! Most Short-tailed Shearwaters undergo a full moult in the far north, becoming flightless for a time. I don't know if that is what is happening to the lower bird, it doesn't look too healthy, and may have picked up some feather pollution leading to waterlogging. For a moment as we caught sight of it swimming past, I thought we had found our first auklet!!
Haze? What haze? This was the weather by the time we came back in - the wind change and rain have thankfully cleared the air.


John Holmes said...

Dave, an excellent "haul", especially for the time of year. Very surprising to see the ST Shearwaters and (Swinhoe's) Petrels still about, as you say.

Choy Wai Mun said...

Swinhoe's Storm-petrel - I certainly want one!