...of Shearwaters. That's the collective noun New Zealanders apparently give to this family (I can't find an English equivalent despite, ooh, 30 seconds of extensive research). We call it a raft, of course, when groups of them are sitting on the water, but that doesn't quite capture the way these birds are best enjoyed: shearing, as the name suggests, low over the sea. Four pelagics out of St Mary's in mid-August provided ample opportunity for me to practice. Best efforts below.
First up, the Great Shearwater, which, having bred on islands in the South Atlantic, winters during our summer off the coast of North America, passing through our waters on its southward migration. We saw this species on every trip, and they often followed the boat.
10 months ago