- Monterey Seabirds 3/9/03
The weather service forecasted rain but what do they know?. We enjoyed a
beautiful sunny day on the water with calm seas. No one on board ever
looked the least bit green.
Going out on a pelagic seabirding trip once a month is quite interesting
in that you can witness the changes in avifauna that occurs in a four
week period. Our trips are scheduled for the most part for the second
Sunday of every month. Whereas last month we saw no Black-footed
Albatross this trip had around 60!
The trip highlight was a MANX SHEARWATER in a group of BLACK-VENTED
SHEARWATERS spotted sitting on the water initially by our skipper
Richard Ternullo.The bird took flight before he could get on the PA and
leader Don Roberson caught sight of it from the bow and got others on
the bird as it was flying away.
Several wintering PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS were seen on the day and a
distant SOOTY and a SHORT-TAILED made for 5 species of sheawaters for
the day. Not bad for March!
The pair of HARLEQUIN DUCKS wintering in the harbor were found thanks to
the sharp eyes of local bird guide Rick Fournier who spotted them on the
rip rap at the back of the harbor. Richard skillfully manuevered the 70'
Sea Wolf II into a place where all on board could see the pair.
2 BRANT were seen on the little pocket beach near the radio tower on
Cannery Row. In this same area we also found a few PIGEON GUILLEMOTS
A notable change from last month was with alcids, CASSIN'S AUKLET and
COMMON MURRE numbers were small compared to what we saw last month.
RHINOCEROS AUKLETS were seen in nearly all plumage variations and still
in good numbers.
The GRAY WHALES are now all on their northbound migration as opposed to
last month when we spotted the first north migrating pair. About 25
miles offshore we were somewhat surprised to find the first HUMPBACK
WHALE of the season. A curiously small and solitary one.
A good deal of excitement was generated by a Gull that we initially
thought was a GLAUCOUS but after some study was deemed a hybrid with
some GLAUCOUS-WINGED characterstics that leader Dan Singer pointed out.
We had several very cooperative BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES.
Late in the day a dark POMARINE JAEGER was called out by apprentice
leader Ryan DiGaudio.
Back in the harbor as the boat was tied up a RED-NECKED GREBE was
spotted providing one last tick for some of our participants.
We had only 16 participants on board which was below the minimum. Whale
watching tourists would have provided 55 just for the morning and a
second boatload in the afternnoon and a nice profit. We need to see more
support from the birding community on these trips!
Our next trip is on April 13, cost is $70 per person. Pterodroma Todd
Easterla will be leading. Conditions permitting we will bird both Santa
Cruz and Monterey county waters.
See you on the water,
- Our Mother's Day seabird trip was downsized. A small number of
participants(14) resulted in us taking out the ol' Point Sur Clipper
instead of the larger Sea Wolf II. Admittedly we've grown spoiled with
the larger, more spacious boat. You'd think some of us would wax
nostalgic in going out on the Clipper which is the boat many of us
pelagiphiles cut our teeth on but I did hear some moaning. It was
preferable by far to not going out at all(although I think my mom would
have preferred we canceled).
I had entertained some serious fantasy seabirds in that we'd had a few
days of good onshore winds after a long period of having none at all.
Our skipper Richard Ternullo's sighting of a Dark-rumped (presumably
Hawaiian) Petrel the week before(photos at
http://montereybay.com/creagrus/MTY_2003.html ) added fuel to the fire
of my hopes of finding some outrageous pelagic vagrant but alas such was
not the case. But hey, you got to keep at it to see the truly good
pelagic birds right?
It has been really interesting seabirding on a monthly basis and
witnessing the changes. I've always been big on patch birding and the
Monterey sea canyon is on helluva patch to work.
When Big Sur Ornithology Lab interns Robin Honywell and Jessica Griffith
showed up as volunteer chummers they said they were hoping to see an
albatross and they weren't disappointed as we had 80 BLACK-FOOTED
ALBATROSS for the day with as many as 15 at the stern at one time.
SOOTY SHEARWATERS numbers were way up from last month's trip with birds
visible almost continuously during our trip. PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS
were also numerous (80) with many showing signs of molt.
4 NORTHERN FULMARS, and 5 RHINOCEROS AUKLETS were spring holdouts.
Migrant gulls and terns were sparse with only a few BONPARTE'S and a
single SABINE'S GULL. I have this theory that if there is a Brit on
board and a Sabine's Gull in the vicinity that they will find it. Such
was the case this time.
We had several flocks of RED-NECKED PHALAROPES including a particularly
large one at an area of convergent water but only a smattering of
beautiful alternate plumaged RED PHALAROPES.
HUMPBACK WHALES have returned and they were seen feeding off of Ft. Ord.
Our only other cetacean being widely scattered PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED
It was a good group on board. Special thanks to our regulars for their
support and our leaders Don Roberson and Dan Singer. Our next trip is
scheduled for June 8, hope you can make it. 831 375-4658
- Monterey Seabirds will feature two consecutive days of pelagic birding
this Sept. 21 and 22. The first trip will be a 12 hour outing to the
Albacore Grounds and the subsequent trip will focus on the Monterey
Seavalley and the storm-petrel flocks. Costs are $110 and $70
respectively. Details are at
Hope to see you on the water,
- There are a few spaces still available for tomorrow's Monterey Seabirds
outing. We will make an effort to relocate the YELLOW-BILLED LOON that
has been present all week off Otter Point. Killer Whales have been seen
6 out of the last 7 days so there is an excellent chance of seeing them
as well. Cost is $80 per person. 831-375-4658
Roger Wolfe for Monterey Seabirds
Soquel Canyon, CA
- A trip report with photos by Jeff Poklen for the Monterey Seabirds
voyage to Sur Ridge on Aug. 13 is online at
Roger Wolfe for Monterey Seabirds
Soquel Canyon, CA
- Just a follow up to my earlier announcement about pelagic trips with Monterey Seabirds for this fall. Our August 24th trip is fully booked, but we do have spaces on our September 7 (half day), 21, 28, October 5 and 12th, and November 7 (half day) trips.As usual, we have great leaders including the incomparable Todd Easterla, and the best boat captain of all, Richard Ternullo--a trained biologist and seasoned captain for many decades. We are the friendliest boat in the Monterey area, no stress, no yelling, no problems.As others have mentioned, this is already a very interesting fall for pelagic seabirds and is the best opportunity to see Craveri's Murrelets in many, many years off Monterey. With Alvaro's recent sighting of the Salvin's Albatross off San Mateo, who knows what else is out there.We at Monterey Seabirds are proud to partner with Alvaro Jaramillo's "Alvaro's Adventures", and there is an opportunity to go on our boat on his chartered trip and our regular trip on back-to-back days--Oct 11 & 12. The more time you spend on the water, the more likely you'll be on the boat when a mega rarity shows up. Also everyday on the water is different!Reservations are required. Reservations can be made using our online reservation form or by calling (831) 375-4658 with a credit card number to hold your spot. Go to Whale Watch Trip Information Page for further details (trip preparation, directions, etc.). For the Seabird trips we have a 2-week cancellation policy.John Sterling
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV26 Palm Ave
Woodland, CA 95695