Just a note on the deepwater trip from Santa Barbara on the Condor Express, Sat., May 25. We were greatly disappointed in not finding any Pterodroma Petrels. It was however, about the best trip you could have without finding
your target species. We did see 4-5 Black-footed Albatross.
It was a whale of a trip with Blue, Fin, Humpback, Sperm, and Beaked Whales, among others, all seen very well, and Northern Right Whale Dolphin, and Dall's Porpoise, surely
the fanciest two smaller guys....
And there were Leach's Storm-Petrels. And I mean Leach's Storm-Petrels. Hundreds of Leach's Storm-Petrels. Over the deep far offshore waters, they were like flies. I
made single counts, of 90 degree pans, of 25 birds, in a quarter of the ocean around the boat. Surely 50-100 were countable in a single moment. I had many many counts of 12 in a quarter, 90 degree pan, many hours, every hour,
for over 6....
Due to the calm seas and speed of the boat we were able to spend some 6 hours and transect 150 miles at 1800-2100 plus fathoms, and probably 8 hrs, and 200 miles total transect beyond the 1500 fathom line. We were 126 miles
WSW of Sta. Barbara at the furthest, about 80 miles WSW of Pt.Conception. A couple Yellow,
and 1 Wilson's Warbler joined us briefly far asea...
Fun any way you cut it, was running down several birds, such as Leach's Storm-Petrel, Black-footed Albatross, South Polar Skua (2), and an oddly molting Pink-footed Shearwater (with white stripes on the upperwing from
molted coverts exposing white-based primaries and secondaries...) all at 34 Knots or 39+ miles per hour !!!!
Unfortunately, we found no Pterodroma to run down! Other birds seen were Sabine's Gull (10), dozens of Xantus's Murrelets, and dozens of Black and Ashy Storm-Petrels. Lots of Cassin's and a fair number of Rhinoceros Auklets...
All thanks to the incredible vessel, the Condor Express, its crew, and especially its Captains, Ron Hart and double especially Fred Benko. Thanks also to co-leaders David Pereksta, Peter Cantle, Don DesJardin, Bernardo Alps, all who
helped make the trip better for everyone.
The next trip will be August 24, which will have
excellent chances for the southern specialties..
Red-billed Tropicbird, Least Storm-Petrel, and
Craveri's Murrelet, besides a deepwater rarity like a Cook's Petrel. Guy McCaskie and myself
will be two of your trip leaders.
A full trip report for 5/25 will be posted on my site soon..... at
all my warblers are Willies
all my vireos are Warblies
all my pewees are Westies
as are my Tangers and Empi's
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