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Day 15: Back to Pelagics!

South Pacific Ocean

overcast 50 °F

Today was the first of the three final at-sea days of the HMS Coral Princess’ concluding journey up the coast of Chile. Before including photos from today, I must show this beautiful SOUTH AMERICAN TERN from last night as the cruise wound through Patagonia.
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MAGELLANIC DIVING-PETREL was also a life bird last night as I briefly mentioned in the last post:
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And today’s cruise through the Pacific brought many, many seabirds! The bulk of the seabirds came in the form of SOOTY SHEARWATERS, a markedly more common species now that we are the Pacific. They are separated in idenfication from similar dark petrel species by their lighter underwings, which can be seen well in this photo:
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Many albatross were seen today, including a number of young WANDERING:
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And adults:
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SOUTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS — note the clean white head on Royals which is distinguished from the similar Wandering which has a buffy area on its nape.
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BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS, still the most common albatross species:
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At one point, a pod of small, dark dolphins came through.
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Smaller seabird species such as COMMON DIVING-PETREL and FUEGIAN WILSON’S STORM-PETRELS were present, also:
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It was great to see the Diving petrels, which I haven’t seen since New Zealand in 2014!
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Immature BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS:
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And a great addition for our trip, a BULLER’S ALBATROSS — yet another species I haven’t seen since New Zealand:
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“Snowy” subspecies of WANDERING ALBATROSS:
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And a couple of young Wanderings were very photogenic this afternoon:
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Immature BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS with SOOTY SHEARWATERS:
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Always fun to see albatross sitting down for a change!
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NORTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS — separated from the Southern because the Northern has black leading edges to its wings (the Southern has white).
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Those white leading edges are very apparent on this SOUTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS from a bit later:
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Two CHILEAN SKUAS gave great views:
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Then, one of the Irish birders (all with whom I bird daily) found a PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER! After quite a bit of looking in scopes and searching with my camera, I finally got to see it and managed a decent photo! So happy! Life bird — saving this day from being the first on the trip with no life birds!
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Deermut also spotted a possible distant MANX SHEARWATER, but it was much too far to confirm for the list:
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Another SOOTY SHEARWATER:
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We also had a probable WESTLAND PETREL in molt, but this one is just probable because the photo is suggestive of its tell-tale black tip to the bill, but not clear enough to confirm it (no black tip = White-chinned Petrel). Luckily, I have seen both petrel species before!
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We had a number of other seabirds as well, including some definite WHITE-CHINNED PETRELS and other possible (& 1 definite) WESTLAND. I want to give a huge thanks to the six Irish birders who have taught me so much on this cruise — their expertise in seabirding and bird identification & photography in general is something I can only aspire to have one day in the future — they are like walking encyclopedias! And big thanks to them for also letting me tag along with them everyday so I can try my hand at finding & correctly identifying seabirds! Thanks Deermut, Joe, Jim, Tom, Billy, and Aidan!

Two more sea days to go, then I fly down to Patagonia for a week of birding and hiking!

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 1097 Species (1 life bird today: Pink-footed Shearwater)

Posted by skwclar 17:45 Archived in Chile

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