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Monterey Bay Seabirding

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  • Roger Wolfe
    The Sept 14 Seabirding Cruise with Monterey Bay Whalewatch is now sold out. Don t despair we have two more trips coming up on Oct. 13 and 20. Cost is $65 per
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 4 2:42 PM
      The Sept 14 Seabirding Cruise with Monterey Bay Whalewatch is now sold
      out. Don't despair we have two more trips coming up on Oct. 13 and 20.
      Cost is $65 per person. Leading the next trip on Oct. 13 will be Todd
      Easterla of Pterodroma Tours and Don Roberson author of Monterey Birds
      (new edition out in November) who once spent four months at sea
      observing seabirds. Marine Biologist Nancy Black will also be on board.

      A trip report detailing our Aug. 25 trip is online at
      Our skipper is Richard Ternullo who has been leading whalewatching and
      pelagic birding trips for 28 years, 16 of those with Shearwater
      Journeys. Currently Richard reports seeing some Xantus' Murrelets and
      increasing numbers of both Ashy and Black Storm Petrels. Our last trip
      we completed the Skua Slam and viewed Humpback and Blue Whales as well
      as 6 species of dolphin.

      We are also working on a date for a 24 hour deepwater pelagic out to the
      Davidson Seamount. I will keep you all posted on that.

      You can register for our these trips online at
      http://www.montereybaywhalewatch.com or by calling (831) 375-4658

      See you on the water,
      Roger Wolfe for Monterey Bay Whalewatch
    • Roger Wolfe
      Saturday Sept. 14 Our 75 vessel the Seawolf II got underway at 7:30 in the am. The fog was quite thick and remained so into the early afternoon making for
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 15 1:41 PM
        Saturday Sept. 14

        Our 75' vessel the Seawolf II got underway at 7:30 in the am. The fog
        was quite thick and remained so into the early afternoon making for lees
        than ideal conditions for seabirding. Seas were Beaufort 4 and we also
        had to contend with some winds from the NW. Ah but we made the most of
        it with a great group of folks on board. A nice mix of locals, many of
        high caliber and out of staters

        You can always tell the folks from out of the area by the excitement
        generated by the presence of a pair of SURFBIRDS foraging along the
        Coast Guard jetty. Here we also had a BLACK TURNSTONES, ELEGANT TERNS
        and the expected gull species. On our way out along Cannery Row we had

        Passing Pt. Pinos we started seeing our first of 7,300 SOOTY SHEARWATERS
        and soon we were seeing many PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS as well. Thanks to
        the diligent chumming by Jonathan Carpenter and Erin McDonald, interns
        at the Big Sur Ornithology Lab, we had a contingent of gulls following
        our wake which in turn attracted BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS-we saw 25 on the
        day. COMMON TERNS passed by the boat numerous times but only one
        ARCTIC TERN was seen over a large group of PACIFIC-WHITE SIDED DOLPHINS
        who upstaged the birds with some high flying gymnastic maneuvers. One
        was very impressive linking a number of complete head over tail flips.
        Don Roberson awarded him an 7.5 claiming that his reentry into the water
        could have been a bit cleaner. There were also a good number of NORTHERN
        RIGHT WHALE DOLPHINS in this group that joined the others in riding our
        bow, one of these preferred to do so upside down revealing his tuxedoed
        appearance, and another would leap over him. It was quite a thrill to
        watch them from a few feet above at the bow looking right down into
        their blowholes.

        More marine mammal excitement ensued when our skipper Richard Ternullo
        spotted a group of BAIRD'S BEAKED WHALES!
        We could see their short round blows ahead of us but they dove and
        evaded us before we could get any really good looks.

        A few PARASITIC JAEGERS paid us a visit but only a single dark morph
        POMARINE JAEGER. Passing into Santa Cruz county waters we came upon
        thousands of Sootys. A call came in on the radio to tell us of the
        presence of a group of KILLER WHALES/ORCAS feeding on a CALIFORNIA SEA
        LION. En route we found our bird of the day-a single brilliant TUFTED
        PUFFIN(good spot Jay Withgott!)

        A single SABINE'S GULL was seen in the distance in stark contrast to the
        flocks seen a month earlier. There were three other boats present when
        we arrived at the Killer Whale banquet. This pod of 5 Richard identified
        as the Friendly Pod by the distinctive notch in the young male's dorsal
        fin. They have been dubbed friendly because they are known to approach
        people in inflatable boats and sometimes like to ride the bow wake.
        Conversely they have also been documented killing a Gray Whale.

        The highlight of our day in my book was when two female Orcas appeared
        just below the surface at the bow and we could seen the seal carcass in
        both of their mouths. I mean they were right there! We spent a fair
        amount of time with this pod and everyone on board was pretty thrilled.

        Back to birds we had our first of 6 BULLER'S SHEARWATERS, a lone COMMON
        LOON. About then I remarked to Richard that I was surprised we hadn't
        seen any larger whales and is if on cue a BLUE WHALE blew and we ended
        up seeing 3. Curiously we saw no Humpbacks whereas nearly 30 had been
        seen the previous weekend. RISSO'S DOLPHINS were also seen but only a

        On way back in we had about 6 of those shy little CASSIN'S AUKLETS on
        the water then quickly flying away.

        Thanks to all on board for a great trip and special thanks to our
        leaders Don Roberson, Stephen Bailey and Craig Hohenberger.

        Our next outings will be on Oct. 13 and 20. Hope to see you out there.

        Roger Wolfe for Monterey Bay Whalewatch
        831 375-4658
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