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August 31, 2003 Trip Report

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  • Debi Shearwater
    Hello Seabirders, This morning I noticed clouds moving up from the south, and I said, Ut Oh, here we go again‹southerly movement! Just when currents have
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 2, 2003
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      Hello Seabirders,

      This morning I noticed clouds moving up from the south, and I said, "Ut Oh,
      here we go again‹southerly movement!" Just when currents have moved in from
      the north, here comes the southward push once again. It has been a bizarre
      summer/fall season, as one stationary low after another has seated itself
      along our shoreline. The current low is forecast to weaken by the end of
      this week. Sometimes, I think it is like a giant washing machine agitator up
      there in the atmosphere! So, what the heck does all this mean for seabirds?

      Every time a low pressure system moves in from the south, we experience
      warmer water, often very close to shore. This has produced numerous
      sightings of Xantus' and Craveris' Murrelets and some of the best nearshore
      albacore fishing in many years. The Cory's Shearwater was probably
      associated with one of these warm-water fronts. And, I keep forgetting to
      mention that for the first time in 27 year's of trips, we have seen many
      MAKO SHARKS! I've been receiving a lot of questions about Black-vented
      Shearwaters, Black and Least Storm-Petrels. Yes, they should be on their way
      north with these pushes, but we are just beginning to see them. Our Monterey
      skipper, Tinker, saw a TROPICBIRD sp. on August 24th off of Big Sur, the day
      after our trip! But, when the low backs down, the high pressure moves in,
      along with cooler waters and winds from the northwest, our prevailing winds.


      Finally, this past weekend in Monterey Bay, everything changed with the
      northwest winds and the high pressure system. The sea surface temperature
      dropped down to 54-57F (from a high of 64-67F), the large numbers of
      shearwaters concentrated off of Point Pinos dissipated, especially the
      Buller's Shearwaters, which seem to associate with the warmer waters. More
      Cassin's Auklets moved into the bay. Many (but not all!) of the large whales
      left the area, and most remarkably, ASHY STORM-PETRELS moved into their
      traditional areas on the north side of Monterey Bay!

      This report of the Shearwater Journey's August 31st trip is a compilation of
      the leaders who were on that trip, as I was not there due to a back injury.
      Apparently, I missed a great trip! The leaders were: Jennifer Green, Steve
      Howell, Clay Kempf, Scott Terrill, and Linda Terrill. Chumming by Matt Brady
      and David VanderPlyum. Highlights of the day were: 2,800 ASHY STORM-PETRELS,
      along with 2 or 3 BLACK STORM-PETRELS, 34 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES near a
      fishing vessel, excellent views of an adult/chick pair of XANTUS' MURRELETS,
      8 NORTHERN FULMARS, 225 PINK-FOOTED, 14 BULLER'S and 400 SOOTY SHEARWATERS,
      800 RED-NECKED and 1000 RED PHALAROPES, 5 POMARINE, 5 PARASITIC, and 1
      LONG-TAILED JAEGERS, 18 SABINE'S GULLS, 8 ELEGANT, 20 COMMON, and 5 ARCTIC
      TERNS, 600 COMMON MURRES, 265 CASSIN'S AUKLETS, and 70 RHINOCEROS AUKLETS.

      Marine mammals were well represented:1 MINKE WHALE, 8 BLUE WHALES, including
      surface feeding animals, 3 HUMPBACK WHALES, 9-10 RISSO'S DOLPHINS, and 32
      DALL'S PORPOISES who put on quite a show by bowriding on the boat. Two BLUE
      SHARKS were found.

      It was reported to be a very calm day, with excellent ocean conditions‹an
      all around great trip on Monterey Bay. Our next trips with spaces available
      are: September 7, 12, 13, 14, 15, 21, 26, 27; October 3, 5, 11, 12, 13, 15,
      17, 19; November 29; and December 15, the pelagic CBC. The trips on
      September 19 and 28 and October 4 are SOLD OUT. Three spaces are open on the
      September 12 trip from Bodega Bay. Two good folks had to cancel for medical
      reasons, and if there is anyone out there who could take their places, it
      would help them out a lot! Please check the web site for port of departure
      on all trips.
      GOOD SEABIRDING!
      Debi Shearwater
      ---
      http://www.shearwaterjourneys.com
      Debi Shearwater <debiluv@...>
      Shearwater Journeys
      P.O. Box 190
      Hollister, CA 95024
      831-637-8527
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