Just got back from an excellent few days at sea on the Searcher. I was joined by Jon Feenstra, Adam Searcy, and Dave Povey as well folks from all over the globe for our annual 4 Day fall pelagic. A full trip report will follow, but I thought a brief recap would be in order.
The top avian highlight was a Hawaiian Petrel about 40 nautical miles west of Point Conception on Sep 5 (SBA County). The bird came close and buzzed our chum slick, but did not stay long. I spotted the bird from the upper deck, but my camera was on the lower deck. Fortunately Feenstra and a couple of the passengers were able to photograph the bird.
On Sep 3 in San Diego and Sep 5 in the west Santa Barbara Channel we had single Wilson's stom-petrels.
on Sep 5 we had 3 Red-billed tropicbirds along the edge of the continental shelf, and on Sep 6 we had a whopping 18 for a total of 21. This is by far the most I have ever seen, and we had them in flight, sitting on the water, and even a pair circling the boat.
A handful of Least Storm-petrels off San Diego, and outstanding views of three Leach's subspecies, including at least 8 "Townsend's Storm-petrels.", the summer-breeding type from Guadalupe that is a potential split, rounded out the notables.
Cetaceans were numerous and we had multiple encounters with Baird's Beaked whales, including multiple breaches, and a pair logging on the surface that allowed great views.