Today I was day-tripping to Dry Tortugas. Birders should know all about it, site of the only Sooty Tern and Bridled Noddy colony in the US (ignoring Hawaii) plus a regular spot for boobies and a great spot for migration. I was a bit early for migrants, but otherwise got the full experience.
The day began with an early start and a short drive to the parking garage near the dock. A two minute walk later and I was checked in, so I settled down to relax for a few minutes and check out the harbor. A bunch of pelicans and a Great Egret were right in front and I’m moderately sure I was hearing a Chimney Swift or two overhead.
Around 7:30, we got the introductory lecture and boarded the boat. I wandered around a bit and then decided to get breakfast before finding a seat for the trip out. The cereal and juice were fine but I’m fairly sure that the grapes had dried spiders among them. After quickly eating, I worked my way to the outside and settled in to scan.
It wasn’t a particularly birdy trip on the way out. A few gulls and terns, some pelicans, an Osprey, and a couple others were about it. The others were fairly good, being a Blue-winged Teal about 30 minutes out and a full adult Pomarine Jaeger a little later.
Frigatebirds and something??
Masked Boobies (probably want to click through and go to a larger size)
The island’s well described in books, so I’ll skip writing about it and just show some photos.
Royal Tern and friends
Frigatebird with stick
The ride back was quieter (other than one close pass of a Masked Booby). We arrived around 5:30 and I walked over to Mallory Square. I intended to wait for sunset, but it was overly tacky and I was getting hungry. I wandered around a bit looking for a sandwich shop or something but eventually settled for a couple slices of pizza.