Things may get exciting in the coming days for our southeastern Seanetters. In a recent post, we mentioned the potential for Greater Shearwaters to begin washing up on east coast beaches. Sure enough, the influx has begun. Rick Newman, Conservation Biologist at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton, FL has reported 21 stranded shearwaters along a 5 mile stretch of beach there over the past two weeks. North of that, South Carolina Seanetter Rick Keup (who found a Cory’s Shearwater on his beach last month) has now found a dead Greater Shearwater, as well as a live one in just the past week. The live bird was captured and Rick reports that he could find no outward cause for its stranding. He released the bird, which made no attempt to fly and merely walked along the sand.
Seanetters should expect to see these birds stranding farther and farther north, corresponding with their migration to north Atlantic waters. And to reiterate, we want you to continue your usual SEANET walking schedule, and to report and tag any shearwaters found on your route as usual. But we are also interested in any reports of shearwater mortalities observed outside your official SEANET walks. These incidental observations should be submitted to us via email or phone, but should not be reported in the SEANET database.
In more southeastern news, Georgia SEANET Coordinator Marge Inness brought to our attention a news story involving oiled pelicans from the Gulf. Because of severe weather bearing down on the Gulf, 72 Brown Pelicans that were oiled and are now ready for release must be flown to an alternate release site. The birds will be transported to the coast of Georgia and set free there, so Georgia Seanetters may want to be on the lookout. It’s unclear from the news report whether the birds are banded or tagged in some other way but SEANET suspects they may be, so even when not on a SEANET walk, keep a close eye out for banded birds, dead or alive!