TR: LAAS pelagic 5/4/02
Trip departed Marina del Rey on the UCLA/SeaWorld 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.. Against my better judgement I caved in to suggestions about chasing the Short-tailed Albatross at S.Barbara Isl. Apparently some felt the prior chase trip that missed it, went after it too soon.... but these are the people who payed for the boat.... and to the novices it wouldn't matter. For me I'd get less grief by proving it still wasn't there. And that General
Alisimo Francisco Franco is still dead....
Seas were nearly flat with only 1-2' swell. A thick marine layer was present. We only saw sun late in the afternoon. This would bring us our highlights of the day....that thick marine layer....
On our way toward the island we eventually got off the sandy shallow flats and picked up scattered Sooty Shearwaters, and a Pomarine Jaeger. Occasional loons were going by headed north. All 3 regular expected species were seen in low numbers...
We found a large pod of Common Dolphin. They were attended by many Sooty and Pink-footed Shearwaters, and Western Gulls. A few Heermann's were about too. And some scattered Red-necked Phalaropes... A Minke Whale was seen briefly too.
It quickly became apparent there was a major passerine movement with warblers following and landing on the boat. Most were Wilson's but some Townsend's were present, and a couple people had Orange-crowned, and a Hermit was seen too. At one time over a dozen Warblers were circling the boat. Sometimes several
Wilson's were on the rigging, Townsend's in the
wheelhouse - on my head, Wilson's on my shoulder... Some of them were keeling over dead, even though they made the boat, they were spent. Western Gulls were picking some off too.
As we neared the S.Barbara Isl., we found a fair number of Xantus's Murrelets, perhaps 2 dozen total. Kevin Larson and I saw one Cassin's Auklet. At the island were 10 Pigeon Guillemot - 5 in a binoc field calling was nice... The island had a Peregrine over
it... Lots of nesting Western Gulls, Brown Pelicans, Brandt's Cormorants.... the usual stuff.. many many CA Sea Lions, and a fair number of Elephant Seals hauled out on the beach, but no big bulls.... Scanning
the Coreopsis I saw many Wilson's Warblers on the island.
After leaving the island we headed north to an area the skipper had had green water with lots of birds at the north end of Sta. Monica Bay a few days ago. While still near the island we had about 25 Bottlenose Dolphin, more Sooty and Pink-foots, a couple Rhinoceros Auklets, a bunch of Red-neck Phals in alternate plumage.
A few Terns were about too: Some Elegants were far asea, as were some Leasts over 30 miles offshore. About 5 Sterna sp. were seen and one I thought was an Arctic.
We then crossed a couple hours over the see of nothing. In my boredom I deceided to subdue a Kelp Fly. With the speed of an Empi, the grace of a Scissor-tail and power of a Kiskadee the fly didn't stand a chance. I left the
wheelhouse with my prey in hand, and slowly moved toward a Townsend's Warbler. It ran up and grabbed the morsel out of my fingers. Several people witnessed this, and in the empty sea, now no fly on board was safe. A veritible
army of birders, most grown (?) men were now in hunt mode, knocking off flies like Tyrannids, we all handfed warblers. Boy is this great seabirding or what ??????
We finally got to where the green water and birds were to hear the captian say, "geeez it doesn't look anything like it did a couple days ago".... We did manage to muster some more Sooty's, I think one person or a few had a Black-vented Shearwater or two. About 4 Dall's
Porpoise were nice. Some Bonaparte's Gulls
On the breakwater on the way back in we saw a pair of Black Oystercatchers, a couple Wandering Tattlers,& Ruddy Turnstone, I spotted a spotted Spotted Sandpiper.
I won't bore you with the numbers... I think all the significant species are mentioned above....
I mean seabirding
Mitch- Torrance, CA
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