Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tuesday May 23, 2017 - by Brian Patteson

Today’s forecast called for some more wind and seas than we have had so far, but not until at least midday, so it seemed reasonable to run a trip. As it was, there were only about four other boats out from Hatteras fishing the Gulf Stream, so it was a day for the offshore enthusiast. The ride out was a little bumpy, but we took our time and still reached the Gulf Stream in short order. The water was a little greener than usual out in the deep, but there was Sargasso Weed and it did not take long to find some Audubon’s Shearwaters and Bridled Terns. I was able to find some pretty blue water by going a bit farther to the northeast, and there we found a good number of Black-capped Petrels (photo by Kate Sutherland).
Surprisingly, there were no jaegers to be found. Yesterday we saw three species and had jaegers constantly in view for several hours. Sooty Shearwaters were on the move offshore and we had a few come in and feed close to the boat on our chum, disappearing under the sea for up to half a minute. We had a fair number of Wilson’s Storm-Petrels, but other storm-petrels were tough to find. We did have good looks at a couple of Band-rumps today (photo by Kate Sutherland) and a brief encounter with Leach’s. 

Unlike yesterday, when we made a long drift with the chum, today it was necessary to keep underway working into the current so that we would not end up too far north for the ride in when the southwester came on. The wind really picked up from the south around noon, and when it did, so did the Black-capped Petrels. The Black-caps followed us in to the greener water and before we picked up speed to run in, we had at least 25 in view around the boat!

Although we did not add any bird species to the list for this spring today we did pick up some marine mammals. In addition to Bottlenose Dolphins and Pilot Whales, today we saw a single Risso’s Dolphin offshore and a pod of Atlantic Spotted Dolphin inshore on our way back to the inlet. The Spotted Dolphins put on a good show jumping and bow riding in the building seas this afternoon. I’m not sure if we’ll make it out tomorrow or not, but we’ll take a look at it in the morning and go from there. Thanks today to Kate Sutherland, Lev Frid, and Ed Corey for leading and all of our enthusiastic participants for coming out to sea with us.

Trip List for May 23, 2017
Black-capped Petrel  81-84
Cory's Shearwater  15
Great Shearwater  3
Sooty Shearwater 30-40
Audubon's Shearwater  6
Wilson's Storm-Petrel  120
Leach's Storm-Petrel  1
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel  3-4
Oceanodroma sp.  2
Bridled Tern  4

peep sp.  2

Pilot Whale (prob short-finned)  8
Atlantic Spotted Dolphin  7-8
Bottlenose Dolphin  12
Risso's Dolphin  1

Trip list & photos by Kate Sutherland - it was a tough day for photos, but I got some photos of Black-cappeds & Band-rumpeds - two of our warm water specialties!  They were the most cooperative for views today - that makes us happy!

We finally had some close, white-faced Black-cappeds today
as well as some dark-faced individuals like this one below - nice underwing comparison!
White-faced individual
What I would call an intermediate individual
and a dark-faced individual
Record shot of our first Band-rumped Storm-Petrel - all of the birds we saw today looked to be the winter breeding type - presumably Grant's.
& some images of one of the other birds that flew in behind the boat to feed numerous times!
Risso's Dolphin by Lev Frid

Monday, May 22, 2017

Monday May 22, 2017 - by Brian Patteson

One of the benefits of running daily trips for a couple of weeks each spring is seeing what happens from day to day as the sea conditions change and the winds shift with the passage of weather systems. On Saturday we had southwesterly wind and on Sunday we had wind from the north. This morning we had wind from the southeast. Light to moderate southeasters are good for birding here off Hatteras. It was a little choppy as we were heading out, but the wind diminished somewhat as we cruised farther offshore. By the time we reached the shelf break, it was pretty nice and the clouds made for easy scanning.
It did not take long to find some jaegers today. We had several Pomarines before we saw much of anything else and they were eager to follow us out to the deep. Audubon’s Shearwaters also made an early showing. Black-capped Petrels were not as numerous as yesterday, but after we got out around 500 fathoms were found good numbers (photo by Brian Patteson).
Within less than an hour of slowing down we had a good diversity of birds following the boat, so we decided to stop and drift with the chum. The drift worked quite well and attracted a variety of tubenoses, jaegers, and terns. We found our first Long-tailed Jaegers of the season today, and one of the first terns to visit us was a Roseate, complete with the pink flush (photos by Brian Patteson).
Arctic Terns were not far behind. A Band-rumped Storm-Petrel came in briefly and gave good views. By 10:00 the slick was hopping with birds and we had seen about 10 species of seabirds on it. A smaller gadfly petrel had been taunting us for a while staying out of range. Finally curiosity got the best of it and we had good views of our first Fea’s Petrel for 2017 (photo by Brian Patteson).
We were in some of the bluest water we have found this spring and the current was the current was brisk. After a couple of hours of drifting, we decided to get under way because the birds were scattered and many had gone to rest on the water. Within minutes we were visited by the season’s first South Polar Skua and Leach’s Storm-Petrel! (photo by Lev Frid)
As we worked back in slowly to the shelf break over the next couple of hours, we had a nice parade of birds in tow. We also added Great Shearwater to the day’s list, along with a couple of Parasitic Jaegers. We finished up just east of Diamond Shoals and had a nice ride back to the inlet, where we were able to slip in the east side making for a sort run home.

I would like to thanks our crew for today: Kate Sutherland, Ned Brinkley, Lev Frid, and Ed Corey. We also had a great group of participants, including some from overseas. We have some unsettled weather coming this week, but I am looking forward to getting out as much as we can this spring.

Trip List May 22, 2017
Fea's Petrel  1
Black-capped Petrel  40-45
Cory's Shearwater  33 (at least two of these looked to be Scopoli's)
Great Shearwater  1
Sooty Shearwater  14-15
Audubon's Shearwater  35
Wilson's Storm-Petrel  170-200
Leach's Storm-Petrel  1
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel  1
Oceanodroma sp.  3
Bridled Tern  4
Roseate Tern  1
Common Tern  2
Arctic Tern  9
South Polar Skua  1
Pomarine Jaeger  19-20
Parasitic Jaeger  1
Long-tailed Jaeger  3
jaeger sp.  1

swallow sp.  1

Pilot Whale (prob. Short-finned)  4-5
Bottlenose Dolphin  4
(List & captions by Kate Sutherland)
Ventral view of the Fea's Petrel (Brian Patteson)
Just to give you an idea of how close the Poms were... (Lev Frid)
Pomarine Jaeger by Brian Patteson
The Pilot Whales we saw were quite close, one large male even dove right next to the boat! (Lev Frid)
The afternoon was quite calm and we found some nice patches of sargassum, so we dipped some to see what we could find!  A large Sargassum Swimming Crab (Portunus sayi) was a nice one!  (Lev Frid)
Plus what I am quite certain are epiphytic hydroids visible on the sargassum (Lev Frid)
& one of the two species of shrimp, a Brown Grass Shrimp (Leander tenuicornis), that can also be found in the sargassum (Lev Frid)

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday May 21, 2017 4 Europeans, 1 Euro, and the Europaeus - Kate Sutherland

Chilly winds and overcast skies greeted us as we headed to Hatteras Inlet this morning.  The wind blew from the north overnight so the seas were fairly calm in the lee of Cape Hatteras on the way out, then there was a little swell from the north, but it was quite organized.  The warm water was inshore again this morning so the change in air temperature was noticeable when we got close to the shelf break - but we were lucky and there was not much Gulf Stream current to move against the wind, which was not blowing much inshore, but was much more righteous out in the deep!  Right off the bat we had birds, it was an awesome day out there and we commented more than once that it just felt like a Euro kind of day...

The Black-capped Petrels were present and in force!  Scanning at any time of the morning turned up at least 15 to 20 arcing on the skyline.  They were much more attentive to the chum than yesterday and we had some feeding in the slick with the storm-petrels, touching down on the water for pieces of fish!  (Black-capped Petrel by Kate Sutherland)
Audubon's and Cory's were once again seen well and we had a Sooty Shearwater in the afternoon, though it just flew by, nothing like our hungry individual from yesterday.  We drifted on a nice slick for over an hour in the morning and pulses of Black-cappeds moved through from down-wind to upwind, easily over 40 individuals!  While I counted about 120-130 over the course of the day, Ned estimated he saw at least about 200 on his vigil in the bow - who knows how many were actually out there?  Certainly more than we have seen in a long time, it was incredible!  The Wilson's easily doubled in number from yesterday and we had over 60 in our flock, more than once! (Wilson's Storm-Petrel by Brian Patteson)
Just after 11, a participant on the top deck spotted some cetaceans.  At the same moment a shark surfaced near the boat, adding a bit of confusion, but then a beaked whale surfaced nearby! Subsequent observations and photos showed these to be  Mesoplodon europaeus! (Photo by Lev Frid)
It looked like two adult individuals and some even saw a smaller calf with the pair!  Pretty awesome sighting in the seas we were dealing with today, at one point an animal was surfing down a wave - not something you are treated to everyday out there!  Amazing!  Just a short time later as I was scanning our Wilson's flock, a European Storm-Petrel showed up!  Pandemonium ensued...though our four European customers (3 from Sweden and one from the Netherlands) were not as impressed with the storm-petrel as they were with the M.europaeus!  I am quite certain that everyone aboard had good views of the storm-petrel as it made quite a few passes close by the boat and stuck around long enough to study, and to get some photos, of course! (Photo by Brian Patteson)
In the meantime, we also were able to turn up a few Red-necked Phalaropes and Bridled Terns, plus we even had a Black-capped Petrel make an appearance in the slick inshore of the shelf break!  What a day!  Tomorrow is shaping up to be a nice day out there as well, but we will see...you just never know what you'll find in the Gulf Stream...

Thank you to everyone who joined us today and a huge thank you to our leaders: Ned Brinkley, Lev Frid, and Ed Corey!  It is always nice when there is a lot to sort through all day, but it is hard work too - so thanks!!  (& thanks to Ned for the post title - good one!)

Trip list May 21, 2017
Black-capped Petrel  200 (careful estimate)
Cory's Shearwater  13
Sooty Shearwater  1
Audubon's Shearwater  50
Wilson's Storm-Petrel  150-200
European Storm-Petrel  1
Red-necked Phalarope  4
Bridled Tern  2

Common Tern  1
Sterna sp.  1
Semipalmated Sandpiper  2
Barn Swallow  3

Gervais' Beaked Whale  3
Loggerhead Turtle  1
sea turtle sp.  1
Basking Shark  1

Another view of the Euro by Lev Frid!
Another Black-capped Petrel by Kate Sutherland
Wilson's Storm-Petrels with some fried chicken left over from someone's lunch!  by Brian Patteson
The Red-necked Phalaropes were in some sargassum in water that was a tad cooler than what we were in for most of the day - by Lev Frid
The second Bridled Tern of the day - by Lev Frid
A couple more images of the Gervais' Beaked Whales - top by Brian Patteson / bottom by Lev Frid
We also had one very cooperative Loggerhead Turtle this morning!  by Lev Frid

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saturday May 20, 2017 - Blitz Day One - by Kate Sutherland

September was our last pelagic trip on the Stormy Petrel II and that seems like an eternity ago!  This morning was the maiden seabirding voyage with the new engines, and they are a world apart from what we had before!  The boat is so much quieter, and more efficient than ever, Brian even gave the safety briefing with the engines running this morning, and we could hear him!  While we were excited to get back out to the Gulf Stream, we were not sure what might be in store since the wind had quite a large westerly component to it this morning and it was too cloudy for an image of the sea surface temperature.  Though some of our participants had seen a Sooty Shearwater from the beach yesterday, we did not find any seabirds close to shore this morning.  What we did find was a nice Manx Shearwater between 0730 and 8!  This bird flew up the starboard side of the boat and made a really nice pass so everyone could see the heavy build and white undertail.  Shortly following, we had two more slender and long-tailed Audubon's Shearwaters fly by, just inshore of a nice temperature break with a grassline - a perfect comparison.  We paused there for a bit and picked up another Audubon's or two and a Bridled Tern that flew directly away from us leaving many unsatisfied.  Just a few minutes later as we headed offshore, another came right in to the boat - nice views!  A Cory's was seen in the distance and we later had an excellent view of this large shearwater crossing the bow.  Wilson's Storm-Petrels started packing in behind us once the fish oil was flowing and we had a nice little flock of them for most of the day, no other storm-petrel species were seen today.
Black-capped Petrels were initially uninterested, not passing very close to the boat, but our signature species did not disappoint today - by the afternoon we had Black-cappeds flying right up the slick to the boat and making some awesome passes!
Just after noontime, right about the time we turned back inshore, one of our participants spotted a Pomarine Jaeger flying toward the boat, it flew behind us and headed on away, not taking a second look at us.  About an hour and a half later, a Sooty Shearwater flew in to check out our frozen chum and it decided to stay and eat awhile...following us for almost an hour!  It put on quite a show when we first encountered it, flopping down on the water to feed and then diving repeatedly to secure bits of fresh frozen fish from the chum block!
Just after we hit the shelf break again in the afternoon, along the color change, we found three more Bridled Terns flying together!  Then another!  As Brian pointed out, we probably saw more Bridled Terns today than we saw in total last spring - but with southerly winds like we've had leading up to the Blitz, those, and the Audubon's, are easier to find!  While the numbers today were not very high, we ended the day with a really nice species list, and any day you see a Black-capped Petrel is a good one (I think)!  The birds were all very cooperative as well with nice views of each species.  It was so nice to be back out there in the swift waters of the Gulf Stream where you never know what will turn up next!  We had a nice front move through late this afternoon, and the winds have shifted to the north, so tomorrow will be different, and hopefully we'll find another species or two to add to the Blitz List...

Thanks to everyone who joined us today and to our leaders: Ned Brinkely, Lev Frid, and Ed Corey
A big thanks also to Captain Brian Patteson for all of the hard work he has put in over the past 7 months getting the new engines installed, making sure everything was perfect, and getting our new and improved Stormy Petrel II ready for a work out this spring!
(Photos today are all by me, Kate Sutherland - I spent more time looking than taking photos, so apologies for the slim selection!)

Trip List May 20, 2017
Black-capped Petrel  17
Cory's Shearwater  5
Sooty Shearwater  1
Manx Shearwater  1
Audubon's Shearwater  22-23
Wilson's Storm-Petrel  45
Bridled Tern  6
Pomarine Jaeger  1
Common Loon  2
swallow sp.  2
Loggerhead Turtle  1
turtle sp.  1

I love this angle on Black-cappeds 
Here is an image of one of the few white-faced individuals we saw today.  Most that came close enough to check were intermediate or dark faced birds.
One more image of the Sooty Shearwater
Record shot of one adult Bridled Tern from the afternoon
& the Pomarine Jaeger

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Madeira May 7-13, 2017 - by Kate Sutherland

If I were to go to Cape Point, about 12 miles to the east of my apartment, stand at the tip and look east, the island of Madeira would be a little less than two and a half degrees to the south roughly 3,300 miles across the Atlantic.  This, one of two inhabited islands in the archipelago, is just 360 miles from the African coast and about 540 miles to the south west of Portugal, to whom it belongs.  It is the only place to see Zino's Petrel with regularity in the world.  I eagerly read Hadoram Shirhai's paper on the identification at sea of this species and the Fea's Petrel complex years ago when it was published.  Then, Steve Howell's tubenose bible was published listing some photos by Brian as the first North American record of this species, a couple of hand focused slide film images from a September 1995 pelagic trip off of Hatteras.  Just the next year Robert Flood came out with an incredible guide to Pterodroma Petrels in his North Atlantic Seabirds series.  The Zino's Petrel went from a little known species to a seabird superstar in less than a decade!  Catarina Fagundes & Hugo Romano, owners and operators of Madeira Wind Birds, have been the people making it possible for avid seabirders from all over the world to have a chance to glimpse a Zino's Petrel.  And not only that, but offering as well the chance to spend an evening in the clouds listening to and watching the ghostly forms of these avian olympians zipping through the mountain passes and around the highest peaks of Madeira.  Never did I imagine I would have a chance to experience the incredible privilege of joining one of these expeditions, just another seabird dream, but last week it came to pass.  And such an adventure it was, right up there with the Cahow experiences on Bermuda, two species with very similar historical paths and hopefully with very bright futures.

Catarina organized a trip for Brian Patteson, Peter Flood, Lev Frid, and myself for early May so we could be back in time to start the Spring Blitz (May 20 - June 4 this year).  Brian and I of course run the Seabirding trips from Hatteras aboard the Stormy Petrel II, Peter and Lev both help us as leaders on our trips so it was great to experience this together!  I was excited to see that two of our regular passengers, Doug Hanna and Tom Blackman, were also joining the group.  Wind Birds offers a variety of tours in addition to the Zino's Petrel pelagics so we booked a number of these in advance as well.  Monday we had a full day birding tour of the island with Catarina and Hugo in order to see some of Madeira's endemics; that night a few of us spent over an hour in the wind and rain watching and listening to Cory's near the cliffs a short walk from our hotel in Machico!  I had no idea we would be treated to such a thing and worried we might never sleep!  Some nights we could hear them from our beds!  (Photo below of Machico, Madeira with the airstrip visible and the meeting point for trips on the left, by Kate Sutherland)

Tuesday morning I had booked a trip to swim with dolphins, because how can you not sign up for something like that?!  Lev was the only other person in our group willing to join me on this adventure, so our introduction to the Oceanodroma was getting aboard so we could slip overboard with masks and snorkels in an attempt to see the dolphins that Catarina so patiently tracked for us. (photo of us departing by Brian Patteson)
The water is over 1500 feet deep just offshore of Machico, so it is possible to encounter any number of marine mammals fairly close to shore here.  It was incredible to hear these animals underwater, and we encountered two species that morning, Bottlenose and Common Dolphins.  Their acoustics are different, and while I heard both, I only saw the Common Dolphins.  They were under a feeding group of Cory's Shearwaters and I was not sure if I wanted to be looking at the birds above or the dolphins below!

Shorty after our return to shore, it was time to head back out for our first pelagic trip of the week.  We had three afternoons to spend offshore here and were all prepared to get the most out of each second!  Tuesday we headed to the north, there were Cory's Shearwaters packed on the north side with some Manx flying by as well.  (photo of Cory's by Brian Patteson)
Catarina slowed to let us soak it all in, then we powered offshore!  The first Bulwer's Petrels were seen a bit later, and as promised, they slowed for the first few, then we just watched open mouthed as these acrobatic seabirds wheeled by on our way to the chumming location.  We need not have worried, for the Bulwer's put on quite a show that first afternoon while we all adjusted to their flight style, our photos getting better each day of this erratic flyer (photo by Brian Patteson)!
When we stopped, Hugo put out the first chum ball - a gorgeous thing!  And we attracted the attention of some Yellow-legged Gulls, varying in age, a sharp looking gull to watch and photograph!  (photo by Brian Patteson)
We had some Cory's and Manx Shearwaters come in, and the first gadfly petrel appeared in the glare later in the afternoon - it turned out to be a Fea's Petrel, dark underwings, chunky appearance, and a short, thick bill - confirmed by the experts!  As we began our dinner sandwiches, Peter yelled "Get on this petrel!!" and our first Zino's Petrel of the trip came right in to the boat, oh my, what a bird!  It flew around for all of us to study and, of course, to photograph (photo below by Kate Sutherland)!
Another Zino's came by, but not quite as attentive to the chum as the first, so we finished the first day with at least two sightings!  While it was calm on the north side where we spent our time, it was quite breezy when we passed through the cut to head back to the dock, so we ended up tying up in an alternate location and getting a ride from Hugo back to the hotel.  A long day, but full of so much excitement that most of us were up for a few hours still, pouring over images from the afternoon.

Our second pelagic was on Wednesday, and we again headed to the north.  The southwesterly wind was a queer one for Madeira, as Brian would say, but it worked well for us as the birds were flying into the light.  It was much much breezier than Tuesday and it was a wet job to get us in position for the drift!  We then drifted with the chum, frequently repositioning to drift by it again, putting our cameras in dry bags and ourselves in our jackets each time we heard the call "Going Up!" from Catarina.  It was an exhilarating afternoon for us and really a perfect one for seabirds to smell Hugo's chum and zip right in.  The first Zino's Petrels came in much earlier than Tuesday and we had two individuals buzzing around each other, the chum, and us for a bit! (photo by Brian Patteson)
Such curious birds!  Cory's, Manx, and Bulwer's visited us on the slick as well, but no gulls.  We had another Zino's Petrel as we were repositioning, this one did not stick around as long as the others had, but its image was captured!  Storm-petrels finally made an appearance, Leach's, not Madeirans, and one individual was so hungry it stayed feeding on the chum for over an hour, doing its best to land right on the ball and eat (photo by Kate Sutherland).
This individual was observed diving under the water numerous times for pieces of stray fish, quite possibly the best views of a cooperative Leach's I have ever had!  We also had an interesting Bulwer's Petrel visit the slick that had a white tail (photo by Peter Flood).
At the end of the time on the slick, as I was learning how to use the chemical toilet...another Zino's came in!  This individual was much darker than the previous few but as Catarina pointed out, still had the slender build and long slender bill of a Zino's (perhaps a male individual?) - as photos showed (by Peter Flood).
We had a final gadfly in with a flock of Cory's and Manx Shearwaters on our way back to shore, it looked to be a Zino's as well, but cameras were away at the time and no photos were captured.

The weather for Thursday prompted Catarina and Hugo to postpone our next pelagic to Friday, but we need not have worried about a day without Zino's for we took the hike to the colony Thursday night.  Hugo collected us at 9pm for the ride up to Pico de Arieiro, the third highest peak in Madeira at 5,965 feet, and we bundled up for the hike to the colony - the temperature was in the 40s up there.
(Photo of the observatory at Pico de Arieiro under the full moon on our way back, by Kate Sutherland)  As we walked I was very impressed with the trail we traveled, it was made of stone slabs and the steps were also nicely formed with stones.  I had this image of what it might have been ages ago, a small, slick trail with nothing to save you from sliding down into the abyss below!  Currently, there are railings and some line guides along the trail to keep you from losing your balance and to help keep you on the right path!  We began hearing the voices of the petrels before we even reached our resting point, and some passed closely by as we stopped to soak it all in.  The moon had been full the previous night and there were some clouds, so it was quite bright where we were and the ghostly images of Zino's Petrels accompanied their moans and otherworldly calls, the females a low note with the males replying in a higher pitch.  The wind was blowing carrying the birds and their calls near.  There are no words to properly describe the feeling that you have in your chest, really your entire being, to be in that place.  Like stepping back in time, before human settlement, when islands like this one were home to thousands of nesting seabirds.  As we stood there, the only way I knew time was passing was because my ears grew colder and colder and my fingers ceased to work with ease.  Someone commented "it doesn't get any better than this!"  True, but the hot tea and cookies Catarina served just after that actually did make it better!  It was a perfect evening, right up there with laying on our backs on Nonsuch, the Cahows calling and flying over in the dark!  Eerily similar...

Friday we were again boarding the Oceanodroma in search of its namesake - the Madeiran Storm-Petrel which so far had eluded us!  Other stormies were hopefully going to show as well, like the "enigmatic kangaroo bird", the White-faced Storm-Petrel (photo by Brian Patteson)!
We were not disappointed!  This last pelagic brought us the most diversity of the three trips and incredible photo opportunities.  On our way south to the chumming location, west of the Desertas, Cory's and Manx Shearwaters were around plus Bulwer's Petrels, and we jumped a Pterodroma off the water that Catarina and Hugo felt to be a Fea's Petrel.  Once the chum was out, it was a field day!  We had a gorgeous adult Sabine's Gull that spent the entire afternoon on the slick with the variety of other visitors like Cory's, Manx, and Bulwer's (photo by Kate Sutherland).
Then we had our collection of stormies, Leach's and European were the first to come in and then the White-faced joined them...all were just arm's length away at times!  (Photo of Leach's & European by Peter Flood)
The light was amazing, and we even had at least a couple of Zino's Petrels visit us on the drift.  As the day was ending and the light getting low, we finally heard the shout "Madeiran Storm-Petrel in the slick!!"!  We all looked through our collection of storm-petrels, and sure enough, there it was!  A little smaller than the Leach's with that nice band on the square tail and narrow wings that lacked the huge, buffy carpal bar seen on Leach's - plus a beautiful warm brown color vs the more grayish cast of Leach's - what a bird! (photo by Brian Patteson)
We sometimes see these smaller, zippy looking Band-rumpeds on our trips from North Carolina, but it is hard to tell them from the slightly larger winter breeding Band-rumpeds that we see on most of our trips.  Thus, it was nice to really get a feel for their jizz and to know that yes, on occasion we have individuals that are similar in the Gulf Stream!  The light was very low for photos, so I was content to just watch our birds for the remainder of the time we had offshore.  Our trip back was gorgeous with the Desertas to the right and the lights of Madeira to the left.  There were even some dolphins that came in to the boat in the moonlight...
(The Desertas are visible on the horizon here from the beach in Machico, photo by Kate Sutherland)

I highly recommend these trips to anyone who is serious about our Atlantic Pterodromas, or seabirds in general, Wind Birds is an incredible company and they also book your lodging, making it super simple.  They offer a host of programs and Madeira was, I felt, very affordable.  Our group flew with Azores Airlines, and as long as you are flexible, this is a nice option!  It was also really nice to be offshore with another company that owns and operates its boat.  I can barely wait to return...but in the meantime, perhaps we will see a Zino's Petrel or a Bulwer's on one of our Seabirding trips from Hatteras...we will be ready!

A few more of my photos are here (I am still working on this, hope to have more up soon!)
Click on Peter Flood for a link to his photos from Madeira
Lev Frid also has some photos posted on his Flickr Page

Following are some more photos from Brian Patteson:
Zino's Petrels
 Bulwer's Petrel
 Zino's with Madeira visible behind...
 Leach's Storm-Petrel
 A couple images of Manx Shearwater
 Cory's Shearwater
 Sabine's Gull with Leach's Storm-Petrel
 White-faced Storm-Petrel