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Maryland Herald Petrel – 8/25/12

Alex Lamoreaux|

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.

Herald Petrel – Adult dark type offshore Maryland, 2012 (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Herald Petrel – Adult dark type offshore Maryland, 2012 (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

Herald Petrel – Adult dark type offshore Maryland, 2012 (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Herald Petrel – Adult dark type offshore Maryland, 2012 (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Herald Petrel – Adult dark type offshore Maryland, 2012 (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

Herald Petrel – Adult dark type offshore Maryland, 2012 (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

About the Author

Alex Lamoreaux

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Alex Lamoreaux has been an avid birder and naturalist since he was a youngster, growing up exploring the farmland and Appalachian ridges near Hershey, Pennsylvania. He attended Penn State University, studying wildlife biology. Alex has traveled extensively throughout North America, Central America, and South Africa and is a freelance nature tour guide, field biologist, and wildlife photographer. Alex has worked on wildlife research projects ranging from Whimbrel migration along the coast of Virginia to Yellow-billed Cuckoo nesting in the desert southwest. He has been the migration counter at the Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory for the past two fall seasons, documenting the massive visible migration of raptors and songbirds along Lake Superior. Alex loves to share his knowledge of nature, and strives to bring the birding community together to share in the fun that studying birds and wildlife has to offer. He has helped to organize and coordinate birding events in his home state of Pennsylvania and beyond. Contact Info Alex Lamoreaux aslamoreaux@gmail.com (717) 943-7086

  • Maria F.

    Beautiful wingspreads and work!

  • The video was really great as it gave me more of an impression of size and speed. Jealous!!

  • Steven Tucker

    Damn…for a brown bird, that thing is a CRIPPLER. I would puke if I saw it too.

    • I hadn’t considered that the puking was in response to seeing the bird… 🙂

  • Pingback: Maryland White-faced Storm-Petrel - 8/25/2012 by Anna Fasoli on Nemesis Bird()

  • Michael Lanzone

    Nice.. definitely kicking myself for not heading down.. was seriously contemplating it…if I just hadn’t returned from being gone most of the month Thursday I would have come… oh well 🙂 Nice post and pictures, really like the video!!