Shearwater Journey's January 30, 2005 pelagic trip from Monterey was a
resounding success! It was a beautiful day, with the seas flattening out to
a Beaufort 0. Highlights included five species of shearwaters, awesome views
of 19 ANCIENT MURRELETS, eight species of gulls, and thousands of RHINOCEROS
AUKLETS in alternate plumage.
A MERLIN flew over the dock, as I was giving the introductory announcements.
This was soon followed by a MALE HARLEQUIN DUCK in the harbor, and a
PEREGRINE FALCON on top of one of the stacks at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Lots of SURF SCOTERS, EARED GREBES, BRAND'TS and PELAGIC CORMORANTS, and
loons were along Cannery Row. Two PIGEON GUILLEMOTS were off China Point. At
Point Pinos, the first three ANCIENT MURRELETS were spotted, along with a
few BLACK-VENTED SHEARWATERS. We headed out to the North Rim of the Monterey
Submarine Canyon, where thousands of mixed species flocks of seabirds were
feeding on schools of fish that were being chased by mackeral and sardines.
I could even smell the mackeral! Great clouds of gulls were in hot pursuit
of these balls of fish. Mixed in with the gulls we found a scattering of
shearwaters, including two different FLESH-FOOTS (unusual at this time of
year, although we did see three on the January 2004 trip, as well),
SHORT-TAILEDS, SOOTYS, and PINK-FOOTEDS. The day seemed to be eclipsed by
the sheer numbers of Rhinoceros Auklets 4500-5000+. Several BLACK-FOOTED
ALBATROSSES made passes at the boat, and ate chum that we threw over
(anchovies). It does not appear to be a big winter, at least so far, for
either NORTHERN FULMAR or BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE, although we did see a few
of each. Again, CASSIN'S AUKLETS were nearly absent from Monterey Bay, as
had been the case for the entire fall season. I wonder if they are still
concentrated at the Cordell Bank. Humboldt Squid had been reported in the
bay, but we did not see any.
The sea surface temperature was 56-57F, slightly warmer than normal. The
seas were calm for the day. The sun was out, and most of the "regulars"
remarked that this January trip was much warmer than some August trips! The
usual marine mammals filled in the day, along with a Blue Shark and some
Moon Jellies. It was truly a wonderful day to be at sea.
Leaders for this trip were Sophie Webb, Jennifer Green, Alvaro Jaramillo,
and Debi Shearwater. Chummers were Matt Brady and John Hiles. A darn good
time was had by all.
Upcoming Shearwater Journeys' pelagic trips from Monterey include: April 15;
May 27; August 12, 21, and 28; from Fort Bragg: May 29; August 14, 26, and
27; from Bodega Bay: August 16, and 29. You can make reservations by
contacting Debi Shearwater, see below.
The Trip List for January 30, 2005 follows:
HARLEQUIN DUCK-1 MALE
SEA OTTER-14 +2 PUPS
CALIFORNIA SEA LION +
NORTHERN FUR SEAL-1
HARBOR SEAL +
GRAY WHALE-9 + 1 CALF
MOON JELLIES +
Debi Shearwater <debiluv@...
P.O. Box 190
Hollister, CA 95024