Friday, June 3, 2016

Red-billed Tropicbird

The best bird of the trip appeared a couple hours into day one.  Our eyes were mostly scanning for a larger storm-petrel coming into the chum slick or watching at horizon level for a rare petrel to come knifing by, but there's a reason to look up on pelagics.  Tropicbirds are prone to making high-altitude appearances as they check out a boat.  I don't know who saw this bird first, but a call of TROPICBIRD! suddenly spread through the crowd.

 Most surprisingly, it's a Red-billed.

 White-tailed is the more expected  species; I didn't even study the difference between the two leading up to the trip I thought it was so unlikely.

While these birds are apparently pretty common if your Caribbean cruise goes by (or makes port at) the right island; not having done that, this was my first Tropicbird of any kind.  The bird had very thin wings, but fairly powerful buoyant flight with the curved wings beat relatively shallowly.


A last look at the bird watching the ocean's surface (it ignored the squid Kate was tossing).

1 comment:

Chace Scholten said...

Nice! Looks like this trip was superior in every way, especially being exempt from the bad puns of certain fellow birders.