Shearwater Journey's pelagic trip from Monterey Bay today produced an
awesome megararity�a STREAKED SHEARWATER, spotted by Scott Terrill, as
it was flying up the wake of our boat while I was chumming with
anchovies. We were 8.2 n. miles wsw of Cypress Point and managed to
follow the Streaked Shearwater for nearly45 minutes. Every single
birder on board the boat saw the bird, and some excellent digital
photographs were captured. You can look for these on our web site:
www.shearwaterjourneys.com later this week. In addition, we found 8,000
STORM-PETRELS, mostly ASHY STORM-PETRELS, along with 200 BLACK
STORM-PETRELS, and 2-3 WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS. Steve Howell spotted a
LEUCISTIC ASHY STORM-PETREL in amongst all of these birds. This Ashy
Storm-Petrel had a white belly, dirty white rump, and some white
feathers in the back. Brian Sullivan captured a good digital image of
this individual, no easy task given the numbers of birds flying about!
Lesser highlights included a single BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS (most have
departed, as is usual at this time of year); a single TUFTED PUFFIN; 26
SOUTH POLAR SKUAS; 96 JAEGERS; 21 SABINE'S GULLS; 4 CASSIN'S AUKLETS
(very few around, and often not giving great views, but finally, we had
great looks of some sitting on the water).
This trip was scheduled as an "Offshore Monterey: Albacore Grounds"
trip, but albacore did not show up in Monterey this year. (They are in
Oregon). When some of the passengers asked me where I was going to go
this morning, I replied, " I'm going where I think I will find the most
seabirds." The reports that I have had offshore from Monterey were
devoid of seabirds. With this in mind, I asked our captain, David
Lemon, to head north to the canyons off Ano Nuevo, which we did. In the
early morning hours, we saw many, many jaegers and skuas. They seemed
to be falling from the sky. (In the late afternoon, we found a flock of
8 POMARINE JAEGERS sitting on the water!) We encountered several small
flocks of SABINE'S GULLS and the usual variety of shearwaters.
The sea conditions were as absolutely perfect as they could be. It was
so flat-calm, that it was nearly greasy-looking. Skies were high
overcast. Just marvelous conditions.
About 10 am, we began to encounter flocks of storm-petrels. We spent
something like the next 3 hours sifting through all of the
storm-petrels that were rafted in flocks on the water. We actually saw
Ashy Storm-Petrels picking up very small fish, and carrying them in
their beaks�eating them! I have never seen this before. Several
WILSON'S were pointed out. Then, Steve Howell spotted the white-bellied
ASHY STORM-PETREL It was refound two more times, and Brian Sullivan got
some good photos of it. This was a leucistic individual. (Two other
birding boats were out, and we made calls to them about where the
storm-petrel flocks could be found). I have seen quite a few leucistic
Ashys over the 31 years that I have been doing trips from Monterey�some
with completely white heads, others with white bellies, one with a
white collar, and one that was rusty-colored with translucent wings.
I've also seen almost completely white Least Storm-Petrels (and have a
photo of one of these types). In addition, this sort of thing happens
fairly routinely in a variety of shearwaters, too.
While we were working the storm-petrels, a BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS flew
in for another photo op. Finally, we headed south to Cypress Point to
check out for shearwaters again, since we were saturated with
storm-petrels. Then, we received a report of two BLUE WHALES. So, I
decided that we should head for them, but the folks who reported them,
lost the sighting. Linda Terrill resighted the blue whales, and we were
on track to see them. I was at the stern, chumming with popcorn and
anchovies. Many gulls were following our boat, and sometimes flocks of
BRANT'S CORMORANTS flew by, checking out the food situation. This is
something that I see more commonly in the winter months.
Scott Terrill came back to relieve me from chumming duties. Then,
suddenly he just shouted, "STREAKED SHEARWATER!!" I didn't have any
bins on at the time, so I just looked at this big, whitish shearwater,
flying up our wake! Sure enough! I yelled several expletives, and
everyone on board was now watching the shearwater as it flew very
closely to the boat! The very white head, white underparts, pale bill,
long, wedge-shaped tail, white face�all the field marks were just
standing out. The shearwater flew off. Many of the leaders followed it
for a long distance. It was thought to be lost, but Linda Terrill
picked it up again, sitting in a small flock with other shearwaters. It
was chased by a Pomarine Jaeger, and photos of this were captured, too!
It flew, and again, we picked it up, sitting on the water. This
continued for nearly 45 minutes. Not that many shearwaters were around
at the time. This made it fairly easy to follow. Finally, we decided to
head in the direction of the blue whales, but we never did really see
them well. However, Brian Sullivan brought the boat to a halt with a
TUFTED PUFFIN that he found, sitting on the water! What a day!!
Exhausted and thrilled, we returned to the harbor with many thanks to
the Shearwater Journey's leaders and our captain and first mate.
The leaders for this trip were: Steve Howell, Brian Sullivan, Scott
Terrill, Linda Terrill, & Debra Shearwater. Our captain was David
Lemon; first mate was Larry. Many thanks to all of the birders who came
on this trip. The complete species list follow.
We do have some spaces open on our trip tomorrow, OCTOBER 1st from
Monterey. Please call me until 10 pm this evening to make a reservation
at 831/637-8527. There is a chance that we can refind the Streaked
Shearwater. We will certainly be looking for it! We also have spaces
available on all of the remaining trips on our schedule. Trips from
Monterey include: Oct 6, 7, 8, 14, 15, 22, 28. Trips from Bodega Bay
include: Oct 9 & 13. Please email me, if you would like to make a
reservation for any of these trips: debi@...
SEPTEMBER 30, 2006 OFFSHORE MONTEREY
WILSON'S STORM-PETREL-2 OR 3
SOUTH POLAR SKUA-26
CALIFORNIA SEA LION-400
NORTHERN FUR SEAL-11
NORTHERN ELEPHANT SEAL-3
PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHIN-80
Debra Love Shearwater
PO Box 190
Hollister, CA 95024 USA
"Real birds eat squid."�Tony Marr
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