Lots of fun on the Seal and Bird Watching tour, Saturday, April 14. The American Princess left from Rockaway, Queens, for a two-hour cruise.
Look at these two cute Harbor Seal pups enjoying the sun!
I also saw a bird I've never seen before in the wild, a Northern Gannet. Birders call that a "lifer." An amazingly beautiful bird. We saw a hundred or more of them. They were diving into the water like missiles, many at one time. Gannets pull their wings in tight to their body when they dive. They look like arrows shot from a canon. Multiple plumes of water from their forceful dives spread out in the water in front of us. Gannets dive with such force that they are able to get up to 25' down under the water, according to Chris Paparo, manager of the new Marine Sciences Center at the Southampton campus of Stony Brook University. Diving that deep lets them bring up some big fish, he explained. Paparo is a photographer, too. He was standing near me on the deck taking photos (http://www.fishguyphotos.com). In fact, many photographers were on the cruise.
Another bird I'd been longing to see is a Common Loon in breeding plumage. I saw several! I came away with a few nice photos. It's a challenge getting sharp shots on a moving ship.
If you're interested in this trip, head to American Princess Seal and Bird Watching Adventure Cruise. Grab a Groupon and take the cruise for $16. Birds and seals not your thing? Whale and Dolphin Adventure Cruises begin next month.