Thursday, 10 January 2013

Two Days In The Caribbean

Two transit days at sea and the hope of a decent sea-bird or 3. As many of you know, not exactly my 'cup of tea' sea watching but on day one alone I put in 9 full hours at the taff-rail even taking my lunch down to the 'hide'!
It may be of note that we are now a full 6 hours 'behind' GMT, which could effect the timing of daily posts.
We have encountered a good many RED-FOOTED BOOBIES
but at first light this one was circling Voyager and did so until mid morning. Apart from a single Magnificent Frigatebird and a dozen Royal Terns that was the lot for the day.
An altogether better day today starting with a group of distant Terns which appeared to be dark on top and white below. According to the book just about the only candidates would be BRIDLED or SOOTY the latter being more pelagic but guess we'll never know for sure.
On the other hand, the small Tern that arrived alongside later in the day allowed for a series of decent photos
which by my reckoning made it a COMMON TERN.
However, when it first arrived it looked so dinky and fine billed that it was thought to be one of the 'Marsh Terns'.
Cruising 50 miles south of Cuba and half way to mainland Mexico around noon the last thing expected was a BROWN PELICAN, and while it never got close to Voyager it did land on the sea briefly allowing this shot.
The nearer we got to land, the more birds showed up starting with a group of
closely followed by a swarm of very high flying MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRDs.
Whether it was the same BROWN PELICAN or not remains unknown, but this one was far more obliging flying directly over the ship.
The only CETACEAN thus far
was captured by the lens, with closer inspection showing a 'bottle-nose' of sorts!
It has been a while getting around to it but just have time to clear up a couple of miss/unknown identifications.
Seems my suggestion of Common Tern for this fella landing among Royal Terns in Tobago was well off the mark.
It is in fact a CAYENNE TERN, not as yet a full species in its own right but a form of Sandwich Tern.
I didn't even take a stab at this one, but am reliably informed it is a
BLUE-CHINNED SAPPHIRE, also in Tobago and to make up the 'hat-trick' from the same Island
my Caribbean Martin turns out to be a WHITE-WINGED SWALLOW.
and whatever I noted these at was wrong as they are GREY-CHESTED MARTIN
it's making me giddy trying to keep pace.
Thanks go to all those who helped me out!