Epic pelagic out of Half Moon Bay!
- Hi folks,
Today we started off the day with a dream, that all things could come
together - good weather, warm water, getting off the shelf, and tuna - and
that something surprising might show up in this confluence of parameters.
Often all seems lined up, and things don't pan out, this time they did!
Our trip headed to warm water offshore, but what was surprising for a
boat trip was that we found a high concentration of storm petrels but inside
of the shelf. This was wonderful, the first big concentration of storm
petrels we had seen this fall. But also odd was that the storm petrels were
foraging, not sitting on the water, they were actively feeding - something
they tend to do at night. But more surprising was that in this flock of 800
or so Ashy, there were plenty of Blacks, and amazingly a large number of
Wilson's Storm-Petrels. We were seeing them right and left, which is
incredibly unusual, as a good day for Wilson's is just a handful. Instead
that first flock had over 30 individuals, as well as a few Fork-tailed
Storm-Petrels for our fourth Storm-Petrel of the day. An even larger flock a
few miles off had a greater proportion of Ashy, but our Wilson's number
climbed to at least 44, although we felt that there were likely over 50 of
them in the area. This needs confirmation but seemed like potentially a
record breaker number for California.
Farther along we picked up South Polar Skua, Black-footed Albatross, our
first of TWO (yes 2) Laysan Albatross, and by now three shearwaters (Sooty,
Pink-footed, and a few Buller's). Then we hit luck catching an Albacore tuna
which of course was quite exciting. But then Matthew Dodder spotted the bird
of the day - HAWAIIAN PETREL! We had good views behind the boat, before the
bird flew closer and beside the boat.
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