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Seabirding Pelagic Trips


The cool Labrador Current collides with the warm Gulf Stream off the coast of Cape Hatteras, near the edge of the continental shelf, making this area one of the best for viewing seabirds of the western Atlantic Ocean. Offshore trips to view these seabirds leave Hatteras Village early in the morning aboard a local charter boat. Experienced spotters assist birders in locating key species. The best times of year to take such a trip, in terms of species diversity and productivity, are May - September and January - March. In the summer, most trips encounter Black-capped Petrels, Bridled and Sooty Terns, Cory's, Greater and Audubon's Shearwater, and Band-rumped and Wilson's Storm-Petrel. In May and September, there is also a chance of seeing migrating jaegers, phalaropes and terns. Winter trips can include Northern Fulmar, Manx Shearwater, Great Skua, Black-legged Kittiwake and various alcids.

Species of Interest (Full Bird List)

Black-capped Petrel, Manx Shearwater, Audubon?s Shearwater, Band-rumped Storm-Petrel, White-tailed Tropicbird, alcids


nearshore and offshore ocean waters

Special Features/Concerns

Sea conditions may vary; take precautions against seasickness. Dress appropriately for changing weather. In addition to the previously mentioned species, these trips sometimes encounter rare and uncommon visitors such as Herald, Fea?s, and Bermuda Petrel, White-faced Storm Petrel, Brown and Masked Booby, White-tailed and Red-billed Tropicbird, and South Polar Skua. In recent years, European Storm-Petrel have been seen on a number of spring trips, and a number of ?mega-rarities? have been seen once or twice: Yellow-nosed Albatross, Cape Verde Shearwater, Black-bellied Storm-Petrel, and Swinhoe?s Storm Petrel.

Access and Parking

Interested participants must call in advance to make a reservation. Cancellations due to weather will be rescheduled for the following day, if possible. Parking for the trips is available at the Hatteras Landing Marina. Trips usually last from approximately 6am to 5pm.


From points on the Outer Banks, take NC 12 south to Hatteras Village. In Hatteras, pass by Teach?s Lair Marina and take the last right before the Ocracoke Ferry to Hatteras Landing Marina. The boat is usually docked there, though during certain times of the year, it may be elsewhere.

Google Directions

Delorme Gazetteer Page


Bird List

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