- Mar 10, 2003Monterey Seabirds 3/9/03
The weather service forecasted rain but what do they know?. We enjoyed a
beautiful sunny day on the water with calm seas. No one on board ever
looked the least bit green.
Going out on a pelagic seabirding trip once a month is quite interesting
in that you can witness the changes in avifauna that occurs in a four
week period. Our trips are scheduled for the most part for the second
Sunday of every month. Whereas last month we saw no Black-footed
Albatross this trip had around 60!
The trip highlight was a MANX SHEARWATER in a group of BLACK-VENTED
SHEARWATERS spotted sitting on the water initially by our skipper
Richard Ternullo.The bird took flight before he could get on the PA and
leader Don Roberson caught sight of it from the bow and got others on
the bird as it was flying away.
Several wintering PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS were seen on the day and a
distant SOOTY and a SHORT-TAILED made for 5 species of sheawaters for
the day. Not bad for March!
The pair of HARLEQUIN DUCKS wintering in the harbor were found thanks to
the sharp eyes of local bird guide Rick Fournier who spotted them on the
rip rap at the back of the harbor. Richard skillfully manuevered the 70'
Sea Wolf II into a place where all on board could see the pair.
2 BRANT were seen on the little pocket beach near the radio tower on
Cannery Row. In this same area we also found a few PIGEON GUILLEMOTS
A notable change from last month was with alcids, CASSIN'S AUKLET and
COMMON MURRE numbers were small compared to what we saw last month.
RHINOCEROS AUKLETS were seen in nearly all plumage variations and still
in good numbers.
The GRAY WHALES are now all on their northbound migration as opposed to
last month when we spotted the first north migrating pair. About 25
miles offshore we were somewhat surprised to find the first HUMPBACK
WHALE of the season. A curiously small and solitary one.
A good deal of excitement was generated by a Gull that we initially
thought was a GLAUCOUS but after some study was deemed a hybrid with
some GLAUCOUS-WINGED characterstics that leader Dan Singer pointed out.
We had several very cooperative BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES.
Late in the day a dark POMARINE JAEGER was called out by apprentice
leader Ryan DiGaudio.
Back in the harbor as the boat was tied up a RED-NECKED GREBE was
spotted providing one last tick for some of our participants.
We had only 16 participants on board which was below the minimum. Whale
watching tourists would have provided 55 just for the morning and a
second boatload in the afternnoon and a nice profit. We need to see more
support from the birding community on these trips!
Our next trip is on April 13, cost is $70 per person. Pterodroma Todd
Easterla will be leading. Conditions permitting we will bird both Santa
Cruz and Monterey county waters.
See you on the water,
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