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4-7 September Pelagic Trip

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  • Walter Wehtje
    Following the success of our April long-range pelagic trips (15 Laysan Albatrosses, 100+ Murphy s Petrels, 2 Cookilaria petrels, 7 Red-billed Tropicbirds),
    Message 1 of 1 , May 25, 2003
      Following the success of our April long-range pelagic trips (15 Laysan
      Albatrosses, 100+ Murphy's Petrels, 2 Cookilaria petrels, 7 Red-billed
      Tropicbirds), we're running a trip on the "Searcher"* south of San Diego
      from 4 through 7 September. Our target species are Cook's Petrel, Craveri's
      Murrelet, hypoleucus form of Xantus' Murrelet, tropicbirds, Least
      Storm-petrel, and any other storm-petrels that stray up into US waters
      during this time of year. August and early September are prime months for
      pelagic vagrants in California, and we may come up with some interesting
      surprises while checking out these waters. As many of you know, the ABA
      area stretches 120 miles south of San Diego, where there are several large
      seamounts. The San Diego sportfishing fleet visits this area on a regular
      basis, but pelagic birders seldom if ever bird here. Art Taylor, the
      captain of the "Searcher", is fishing this area from now until September,
      and is on the lookout for birds. Yesterday (24 May) he had his first
      Cook's Petrel of the season at 117 degrees 21' W, 29 degrees 33' N, or about
      60 miles NE of Guadalupe Island. While this is close to 200 miles south of
      San Diego, it's only 100 miles from where we'll be three months from now.
      As the summer progresses and the water temperatures increase, the "Searcher"
      will be fishing closer to San Diego, locating promising bait and bird
      concentrations all the while. Come September we will have a very good idea
      of where to go in order to maximize our birding success during the two full
      days we have at our disposal.

      Our itinerary is as follows:

      Thursday 4 September

      Leave Fisherman's Landing in San Diego around noon and head west towards
      Cortez Bank, 100 miles due west. We'll continue sailing until we reach the
      bank around midnight. At this point we'll set a sea anchor and be ready to
      bird at dawn.

      Friday 5 September

      Depending upon conditions, we may set out a chum slick before dawn. We'll
      then spend the morning cruising around Cortez Bank. We had 2 Red-billed
      Tropicbirds here on 27 April, so this is a very productive area. After
      lunch we'll head south towards the albacore and yellowfin tuna grounds. As
      we sail south, we'll cross several ridges that rise up from the very deep
      waters in this area. At dusk we'll set out a sea anchor, or continue
      cruising very slowly southwards.

      Saturday 6 September

      Our itinerary at this point depends upon what Art has seen during the
      previous weeks. By mid-August, water temperatures in this area are usually
      in the mid 60s (Fahrenheit), but we will seek out warmer eddies if they're
      around. Our emphasis will be to find large concentrations of baitfish and
      tuna, and see what bird species are following them. We will spend the whole
      day birding. At dusk we'll turn northwards, and return to San Diego.

      Sunday 7 September

      We arrive at Fisherman's Landing in San Diego harbor around 8 AM.

      The cost of this trip is $525. We have 16 spaces remaining, as 14 people
      from our April trips have already signed up.

      Our leaders will be Walter Wehtje and Don DesJardin. If you're interested
      in this trip, please contact Celia Condit directly at
      searcher@..., and she'll provide you with booking information. If
      you have any questions regarding the birds we may see, please contact me
      (Walter Wehtje) at the above e-mail address.

      *The "Searcher" is 95' long and 24' wide, with ample deck space, and great
      visibility from the main and upper decks. The upper deck has padded benches
      for comfortable seating. Three very tasty meals are provided every day
      (fresh Albacore sashimi is very likely). All cabins are air-conditioned,
      sleep 2-4 people, and come with sheets, blankets and pillows. Each cabin
      has a sink with running water, while two of the four restrooms have showers.
      This is not a Spartan pelagic birding experience.
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