This past weekend, 5 of my friends and I were fortunate enough to be on the See Life Paulagics overnight pelagic out of Lewes, DE. This pelagic turned out to probably be Maryland’s best-ever summer pelagic due to the shear number of awesome species and the great looks we were able to get throughout the day, despite rough seas. For sure the biggest surprise and all-around best bird of the trip was an adult dark type Herald Petrel that came rocketing towards the boat a little after daybreak. At the time the bird was spotted, I was standing on the top deck of the Thelma Dale IV and most of the folks up there were watching out towards the port side of the boat watching storm-petrels flying upwind, towards us. Someone yelled out there was a dark bird coming straight towards the boat, I knew it had to be something good and so positioned myself against the railing and started tracking the bird through my camera. Around me I could hear people yell out “Is that a Sooty Shearwater?” and “Wait, is it a jaeger?”, but then the bird decided to make things easier for us and launched itself to its left and giving everyone on board an amazingly, up-close look at the underside of the bird making it clear that it was a stunning Herald Petrel – Maryland’s first state record! Below are some photos that Anna and I took as well as a short video clip by Steve Brenner.
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