Found this nice little flickr site about birds on a geophysicists boat out in the Gulf of Mexico. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeegee/sets/72157594545876853/
I presume ship assistance is a fundamental aspect of transatlantic vagrancy. The Yellow-billed Cuckoo (above) which I photographed on Corvo in 2007 showed some dark smudging down its breast. I noticed this sort of staining on one or two other cuckoos on the island in the past. I presume this is some kind of deck wash residue or grease from ships and off shore installations.
Some birders are uncomfortable with the idea of ship assistance but for me it is just another aspect of human activity that affects planetary systems. In this case offshore shipping traffic and installations appear to be regularly utilised by migrant birds. Presumably this factor must have some effect on the ecology of these birds. I suppose it is no different to birds using farmland to feed on or nesting in roofs of houses.
I like the idea that humans are part of nature and I think that not realising that can have significant costs. By saying one thing is natural and one thing is un-natural is a philosophical mistake. The consequences of that mistake is that planners and visionaries consider systems which are missing fundamental parts. The result is a devoid, uninspiring and bleak human environment. In my opinion anything that humans do, can be performed in a way which is complimentary to the natural world. We can build roads with nice verges and planted carriageways, we can farm in a way that generates beautiful countryside teeming with wildlife, we can build houses with stunning gardens with all sorts of garden wildlife, we can build business parks full of trees, shrubs, ponds and feeding areas for birds, Even industrial estates can be planned better and I have spent a lot of time looking at sewage farms, outfalls, settling lagoons, rubbish dumps etc which are all significant areas for birds and wildlife so know very well their importance in natural systems.
In short what I am saying is that this technocrat/environmentalist divide is an imagined divide generated by a philosophical flaw. Eco-warriors do not need to be at war with developers- the two groups should be sitting round the same table planning the human environment. They need to share a few values- no good being polarised. For me anyway, the problem is not development but the nature of that development. Better to go with something and make the most of it rather than fight the inevitable.