Trip Reports: Aug 3 Monterey & Aug 5 Farallon Islands
- Hello, CalBirders,
The Shearwater Journeys' Trip Report with photographs for the AUGUST 3, 2012 MONTEREY BAY pelagic trip can be found at:
Highlights of the August 3 trip included an all time high, nearshore record-breaking 55+ LEACH'S STORM-PETRELS; two SCRIPPS'S MURRELETS; good comparisons of ASHY, LEACH'S and BLACK STORM-PETRELS in one flock sitting on the water; ARCTIC TERNS; good numbers of SABINE'S GULLS; and many of the "usual" early fall seabirds. Loads of food � including squid, krill and bait fish being chased by albacore was available.
Please note: LEACH'S STORM-PETREL is not an easy species to find in Monterey County, as it is not usually encountered on nearshore trips, although it is common 50 to 100 miles offshore. If you are looking to add this species to your county list the best trip to hope to find this bird would be Friday, August 10th. Time is of the essence, as the currents and warm water bodies will likely shift. Also note that the whale watching boats were nowhere near the areas where we saw the Leach's Storm-Petrels, as the whales are much further inside the bay proper. The warm water plume is heading north toward Half Moon Bay where we have a trip on August 12th. It is likely that we'll find Leach's Storm-Petrels on that trip, as well, but they would be in San Mateo or San Francisco Counties.
The Shearwater Journeys' Trip Report with photographs for the AUGUST 5, 2012 FARALLON ISLANDS trip can be found at:
The singular highlight of this day was the NORTHERN GANNET which had not been seen since July 8th, until Gerry McChesney relocated it on August 3. It was not seen on August 4. Amazingly, there were several open spots on this boat trip at the last minute which no one claimed! Of course, the TUFTED PUFFINS (34) put on quite a nice show, along with many other seabirds. At the Continental Shelf, the feeding seabird and whale show was overwhelming with over 45 HUMPBACKS and at least 5 BLUE WHALES. One "SKUNK HEAD" SOOTY SHEARWATER was spotted and photographed. The weather and seas were absolutely sublime!
NOTICEABLE TRENDS: Early fall seabird trends so far include: very high numbers of Red Phalaropes; excellent numbers of a variety of storm-petrels (friends report thousands of FORK-TAILED STORM-PETRELS at Cordell Bank); lower than normal numbers of Pink-footed Shearwaters; lower than normal numbers of jaegers, especially Parasitic and Long-tailed. There has been a lemming crash, at least in the European High Arctic, this season. Unlike last year's fall season, which had the lowest density of seabirds I've ever seen over a 35 year period, this year's fall season seems primed to continue this explosion of marine life. Food, of all sorts� from krill to albacore, is everywhere, in warm water and cold water. Sea surface temperatures reached 59.9 F on our Monterey Bay trip, August 3. The warm water was within 5 miles of the coast. It would be worthwhile for shoreside birders to keep a sharp eye out for frigatebirds, booby and even, tropicbirds. We'll be aiming for that warm water edge on our August 10 and 12 trips.
For a complete listing of Shearwater Journeys' upcoming trips with spaces available from Monterey Bay, Half Moon Bay, Bodega Bay and Fort Bragg, see:
There could not be a better time to enjoy this spectacle of seabird and marine life!
Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
PO Box 190
Hollister, CA 95024
High Arctic: Polar Bears, Walrus & Seabirds: 8 - 18 July 2013, charter with Debi
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