Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Pelagic Birds

Every now and then a pelagic bird (a bird that spends most of its time on the open ocean) will visit Ocracoke. This sometimes happens when an albatross or other exotic pelagic bird is blown here during a gale or hurricane.

I recently learned about Brian Patteson's Hatteras Island based Seabirding Pelagic Trips. Trips to the Gulf Stream aboard the Stormy Petrol II take place year around. As their web site explains,  "the Gulf Stream off Cape Hatteras is probably the most consistent (and convenient) place in the western North Atlantic for finding a variety of pelagic seabirds on any given day. Getting there usually only takes between 2 to 2.5 hours of traveling each direction, so most of our day is spent in or along the Gulf Stream."

Northern Gannet, Photo by Peter Vankevich

As I write, Patteson's enterprise still has space on several more trips to the Gulf Stream in October. If this fall is not a convenient time for you, or you would like more information about seabirding, check out Brian's web site at .

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is an essay by Philip Howard explaining why he decided to stay on the island as Hurricane Florence approached. You can read it here:


  1. Northern Gannets like the one pictured can often be seen in the winter time from OBX beaches. They make swift dives from high above and go completely under water to catch fish.

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