Sunday, January 26, 2020

August 1, 11 Mile Ridge, "The Day of the Sunfish"

August the first, 2019
trip to the 11 mile ridge,  Sw of Matinicus Rock.

I picked up the team off Seal Island for the annual Caroline Poli commemorative offshore junket.

"The more you see the less you know"

August 1,  2019

Trip from Seal Island to southern end of the Eleven Mile Ridge.

Highlights, 350 sunfish, 1 marine turtle, Hawksbill?  About 35” long

Green’s to Seal Island:
80 gannets in the bay, 0 petrel, loom puffin 5 guillemots, adult and fledgling common tern.

10:00 leave Seal Island head SSW towards 11 mile ridge.

Several terns one parasitic Jaeger, 6 Wilsons petrel, one gannet, 2 puffin.
15 sunfish.

10:50-11:15,    @2 mile east of Matinicus Rock.
25 sunfish, ( 2 breaching), herring gull, 4 puffin, 5 Wilsons petrel, gannet, black-backed gull,

15 sunfish, immature herring gull, 5 puffin, gannet, arctic tern, 4 Wilsons petrel.

11:40- 12:30,
95 Sunfish, 3 breaching, turtle Hawksbill?  @33” across.
2 puffin, 4 terns sp., 1 common tern, 2 black-backed gulls, 4 porpoise, Harbor seal, 2 greater shearwater, 7 Wilson’s petrel, 

12:30 at NE end of 11 mile ridge.-  1:03,   69 sunfish
300 wilson’s petrel, 

1:03-1:53,  (to off the south end of the ridge, where we turned around and went up the east side of the ridge and saw a similar volume of Sunfish)
130 sunfish (5 breaching), harbor seal, black-backed gull, 50 Wilson’s petrel, 12 red-necked phalerope, 10 Leaches petrel, Arctic tern.

That was right about 350 sunfish, Seal Island to S end of the 11 Mile ridge.

they were all headed NE with the current.

We saw similar volume but did not count them on the way in giving a trip total of More than 500.

We started seeing them soon after heading south from Seal Island

they were all headed N and east as we were headed South and west

We saw this turtle too, first marine turtle that I have seen off Maine.

a Hawksbill or Green turtle, I am not sure which

we stopped checking out

there were scores of sunfish a constellation of sunfish.

a couple of red-necked pahlerope

Our track 12:48 mid way don the west Side of the ridge.

low wide splash profile of breached Sunfish, Ira reported a breaching sunfish some time ago.
a report met with considerable skepticism, this day we saw many breach, and many splashes like the above, a sunfish breach splash.

Keenan, Hanah (in the raft on the stern), Makyla

We did see some leaches petrels

leaches petrel

Leaches, petrel

some Wilson's petrels

red-necked phalarope

we saw very few greater shearwater,  100x more sunfish than greater shearwaters, I would have bet against that.

Wilson's petrel

Fledgling puffin

Murre head Seal Island.

Great cormorants at the western head of Seal island

Otter Island.

July 30, gannets, Tropicbird..

July 30th, to Vinalhaven Seal Island, NWR

We watched as this throng of gannets coalesced in the bay, after several started circling dozens soon appeared.

they were not far off and the light was good.

Gannets are big and they have some momentum when they hit the water

The splash they make can appear to like the spout of a whale

The decision about when they intentionally stall in flight and commit to the dive is based on a variety of factors, this indicates that,  gannets are good at math.

committed, on the way down

wings folded back and legs tucked in for splashdown.

Some terns flush of the shore below the blind on the edge of the colony above the eastern bite.

Alex and Noah backside of Seal Island

This day the Tropicbird was out and around,

Our dear friend here had smashed into a pole, the researchers had erected in hopes of attracting land birds, as there are no trees on Seal Island, after which it found flopping on the ground was carried back to its cavern in a blanket,  later it was seen to have left the cavern, anyway after 4 or 5 days of not being seen it showed up again all well, though having shed its second long feather, and looking as if it had had a trim.  A potentially deadly crash seems to have not set him back. let's hope that he is more careful to watch where he's going in future.

still courting pot buoys

he is not loyal to one color but he is fond of Steve's.

July 29, Sunfish time

July 29,  Sunfish time
Its Sunfish time.

Sunfish #1,

Sunfish #2,


#3 again

again #3,

Great Cormorant adults and Chicks on Seal Island

Great cormorant chicks and a couple of adults.

July 14, trip to Vinalhaven Seal Island

July 14, trip to Vinalhaven, Seal Island

Great Cormorant Chick, with there adults, Seal Island

Common Tern bombards herring gull.

Puffins ashore on Seal Island

Puffins roosting on the shore of the eastern bite of Seal Island, below the yellow-nosed albatross decoy, they didn't roost at this spot before the decoy was there.

puffin with seaweed, and fish?

Wilson's petrel

Wilsons petrel