Our July 21 Santa Barbara deepwater pelagic is booking up well, but there are still some spots left. I am also pleased to announce that Peter Harrison will be joining us a guest leader. Peter is a man who requires no introduction in the birding world, especially among seabirders. His classic work Seabirds: An Identification Guide laid the groundwork for field identification of seabirds, and was an early source of inspiration to me and many other seabirders. In addition to being a talented writer and illustrator, Peter is also exceptionally good company, and fabulously entertaining. He has graciously agreed to make himself available to sign books for participants who bring them. Back to the birds.
July is an exceptional time to look for seabirds off Southern CA, and we will venture though the rich nearshore waters over and beyond the continental shelf. This trip has produced rarities such as Tristam's Storm-petrel, hundreds of Cook's Petrels, and other hard to find species such as Red-billed Tropicbird are regular if not almost annual. A recent taxonomic split makes this trip particularly exciting this year. A recent issue of "The Auk" featured a paper on the rangewide population genetic structure of the Xantus'sMurrelet and proposed splitting the more northern (our local) breeding scrippsi subspecies and the hypoleucus subspecies that breeds off central Baja California into separate species . Although not yet formally published, this split has been adopted by the AOU, and we will have a chance to see both Scripp's and Guadalupe Murrelets on this trip.
We also have a good chance to see multiple subspecies of Leach's Storm-Petrel, including the summer breeding population from Guadalupe Island that is also an excellent candidate for elevation to full species status.
Of course we expect to see good numbers of the expected species including Ashy and Black Storm-Petrels, Black-footed Albatrosses, as well as Cassin's and Rhino Auklets, Common Murres, and perhaps something more unexpected like Craveri's Murrelet.
Summer trips are also reliable for South Polar Skuas and usually Long-tailed Jaegers.Summer is also prime time for both southern hemisphere rarities as well as peak time for Hawaiian Petrel.
Our vessel is the ultra-fast, extremely comfortable Condor Express. This catamaran features a spacious and comfortable cabin that seats 55 people, full galley (the food is great!), and excellent viewing from both the upper and lower decks. A full contingent of outstanding seabird leaders will be present to make sure we see all that is out there. Captain Matt and crew know how to run birding trips and are enthusiastic and helpful. No other boat in Socal can take us out to shelf and back in 12-13 hours.
The cost is $195; call SeaLanding at 888-77WHALE to reserve your spot. We meet at 6:30 a.m. for a 7:00 a.m. departure.
Right now there is lots of krill in the west channel and Blue and Humpback Whales are present in numbers. Just the kind of conditions that are ideal for seabirding.
You can visit SOCALBIRDING.COM for a full list of upcoming trips from all over Southern California as well as past trip reports, photos and videos. On that page you will see a link to the Southern California PelagicsFacebook page. Become a fan and get updates on trips and see photo galleries of pelagic seabirds.
I hope you can join us for what I am sure will be another memorable day at sea.