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Day 17: Last day on the Coral Princess

South Pacific Ocean

sunny 60 °F

The day had to come: the final day of the Coral Princess’ legendary trans-oceanic voyage from Buenos Aires to San Antonio (Santiago, Chile) via Antarctica.

Of course, I took advantage of the final day at-sea scanning for pelagic birds with the Irish birders, and although there were some slow times, we did pick up a number of species. We noticed an abundance of FRANKLIN’S GULLS this morning:
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As well as another species from the “Laridae” family, an ARCTIC TERN! In addition to being a life bird for me, this was a fun species to observe particularly due to their lengthy migration — they breed above the Arctic Circle and migrate down to the south Atlantic, Pacific, & Southern Oceans for the winter. Now that’s a long trip!
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A few seals were seen periodically from the ship this morning.
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And then, another life bird came in the form of RED PHALAROPE, a pelagic species I have been hoping to come across for a long time! (in Ireland & across Europe, these are, perhaps more-appropriately, referred to as “Grey Phalaropes”)
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A nice WESTLAND PETREL showed with its characteristic dark bill tip:
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PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS proliferated throughout the day:
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And it was nice to observe this NORTHERN GIANT-PETREL as we have mainly seen Southern during our voyage. The Northern is differentiated by its red bill tip.
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This was definitely one of the better days at sea for viewing members of the Laridae family. Here is one of a few KELP GULLS seen today:
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We had a few SOUTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS throughout the day:
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As well as NORTHERN — note the completely black wings (the seemingly white leading edges to the wings are simply due to the harsh light which was present all day)
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WHITE-CHINNED PETREL, the Westland’s more-common cousin, but it lacks the black tip to the bill.
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We had a few distant SALVIN’S ALBATROSS throughout the day:
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And at about mid-afternoon, a smaller Pteledroma petrel species flew by, and due to its shorter overall build, relative lack of head markings, and extremely pale tail, we had my life bird DE FILIPPI’S PETREL, completing the trifecta of petrel species we were hoping to see in the Pacific: Juan Fernandez, Stejneger’s, & De Filippi’s.
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Today marked the 15th consecutive day we have seen a BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS! Not a bad species for a “trash bird.”
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My home boys for the last 16 days — you guys are great, thanks for putting up with me! Left to right: Jim, Dermot (finally spelled correctly — sorry! hahahah), Joe, Aidan, Billy, & Tom
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Then, later this evening as I was writing my life bird MASKED BOOBY flew by the window! Too cool!
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One manner of ranking seabirding is counting the total number of tubenose (petrel, shearwater, storm-petrel, albatross, etc) species seen. I ended up with 38 species this trip, including 28 life birds. I only missed 3 species in this group that at least one of the Irish birders saw, so for me there were relatively few “dirty birds” — an all-too-common result of seabirding. Here is the list:

  • indicates life bird

Wandering Albatross
Antipodean Albatross*
Southern Royal Albatross
Northern Royal Albatross*
Gray-headed Albatross *
Salvin's Albatross
Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross *
Sooty Albatross *
Light-mantled Albatross *
Black-browed Albatross *
Buller's Albatross
Northern Giant Petrel
Southern Giant Petrel*
Blue Petrel*
Slender-billed Prion *
Antarctic Prion*
Southern Fulmar*
Cape Petrel
Juan Fernandez Petrel*
De Filippi’s Petrel*
Stejneger’s Petrel*
White-chinned Petrel
Spectacled Petrel*
Atlantic Petrel*
Soft-plumaged Petrel *
Cape Verde Petrel *
Westland Petrel
Buller’s Shearwater*
Sooty Shearwater
Pink-footed Shearwater*
Great Shearwater*
Gray Petrel *
Snow Petrel*
White-bellied Storm-Petrel*
Black-bellied Storm-Petrel*
Wilsons Storm-Petrel*
Magellanic Diving-Petrel*
Common Diving-Petrel

Birds seen by others that I missed:

Kermadic Petrel (ugh!)
Manx Shearwater
Gray-backed Storm-Petrel

Bird-of-the-day to the De Filippi’s Petrel, with runner-up to the Masked Booby. Tomorrow, off to Patagonia!

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 1099 Species (4 life birds today)

Posted by skwclar 14:49 Archived in Chile

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