There are still spaces available for the spring 2005 5-day pelagic
trip aboard the "Searcher" out of San Diego on April 13-17, 2005.
This multi-day trip is scheduled to visit the southern California
offshore shelves and seamounts that are difficult to reach on single
day trips. Special efforts will be made to find Pterodroma petrels,
albatrosses, and tropicbirds, but a good variety of regular pelagic
birds will also be encountered. We will travel north from San Diego
and arrive in the Santa Barbara Channel the following morning. From
there, we continue northwest until reaching the southern end of
Arguello Canyon where we turn down-swell to the Rodriguez Seamount,
San Juan Seamount, and points along and past the continental shelf.
The exact itinerary will vary based on the leaders' and captain's
judgments about bird abundance and weather conditions.
Originally conceived in 2003 to maximize the chances of finding
Murphy's Petrels in Southern California waters, on our maiden voyage
in April of 2003 we located 66. Unfortunately, Murphy's was a no show
in 2004 for the whole West Coast, so we had to settle for Cook's
Petrel and Red-billed Tropicbird. Other possibilities include
Stejneger's Petrel, Mottled Petrel. Dark-rumped Petrel, Bulwer's
Petrel (1 in September 2003) and Red-tailed Tropicbird (1 in September
2003). Complete species list for 2003 and 2004, charts showing trip
routes, and passenger comments can be found at
The "Searcher" is a 95' vessel with excellent visibility from the main
and upper decks, comfortable sleeping accommodations, hot showers, and
a full galley, which is more than glad to accommodate any special
Although the primary focus will be on finding birds, a variety of
marine mammals may also be encountered. Species observed in 2003
included Blue Whale, Fin Whale, Humpback Whale, Sperm Whale, Baird's
Beaked Whale, Orca, Short-beaked Common Dolphin, Long-beaked Common
Dolphin, Risso's Dolphin, Pacific White-sided Dolphin, Northern
Right-whale Dolphin, Risso's Dolphin, Northern Elephant Seal, Harbor
Seal, California Sea Lion, and Guadalupe Fur Seal.
Trip leaders for April will be Don DesJardin, Walter Wehtje, and Phil
Unit of the San Diego Natural History Museum.
Date of 2005 trip: Wednesday, April, 13-Sunday, April, 17. Departure
is at noon the 13th and return at 8:00am the 17th.
Cost: $750 (includes all food and beverages, excludes crew gratuity).
**NOTE** The February issue of "Birding" will carry an article by
Walter Wehtje entitled "Going Out Deep in Southern California. This
article provides background on the history of deepwater pelagics out
of Southern California and the reasons why Walter and I decided
multi-day trips were the only way to maximize the chances of observing
some of the rarer and scarce deep water pelagics in Southern California.
For more information on this and future trips, feel free to contact me
Searcher Natural History Tours
2838 Garrison Street
San Diego, California 92106 USA
Phone: (619) 226-2403
Fax: (619) 226-1332