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Monterey Seabird Oct. 12 Trip report

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  • Roger Wolfe
    Just as we pull along the inside of the breakwater someone calls out NORTHERN FULMAR. Lo and behold there is a fulmar paddling about inside the jetty. We stop
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 14 7:02 AM
      Just as we pull along the inside of the breakwater someone calls out
      NORTHERN FULMAR. Lo and behold there is a fulmar paddling about inside
      the jetty. We stop the boat so folks can get a photo. The bird paddles
      alongside and at one point it looks as though it might climb up into the
      scuppers and board the boat. Little do we know that this little guy is
      a "harboringer" of things to come.

      A check of the outer jetty yields only a few BLACK TURNSTONES. Coasting
      along Cannery Row and we find a single basic plumaged PIGEON GUILLEMOT
      and a few PELAGIC CORMORANTS but the bird that gets our attention is a
      single RING-BILLED GULL. Not a rare bird but very unusual here along the
      rocky seashore. Outside the harbor we see that fog has enveloped Pt.
      Pinos and the city of Pacific Grove so we opt to make a quick escape and
      head WNW. It's a beautiful morning on the bay as long as we manage to
      avoid the thick marine layer. A nice flock of PACIFIC LOONS goes by in
      the early morning light.

      Our six shearwater day begins with PINK-FOOTED, but soon we add SOOTY
      and get nice looks at a couple of SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATERS flying by
      the stern just beyond the wake. Only 4 BULLER'S SHEARWATERS are seen. We
      see multitudes of NORTHERN FULMARS and our skipper, Richard, remarks
      it's as if someone has opened a box of them overnight and into that box
      have gone the South Polar Skuas which have disappeared. Up to the day
      before he'd been seeing skuas but very few fulmars. We do see a dozen
      POMARINE JAEGERS but only one distant PARASITIC.

      Our first of 3 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS appears. RED PHALAROPES now
      greatly outnumber the few RED-NECKEDS. When we come upon an area with a
      lot of shearwater activity a great deal of excitement ensues when a
      GREATER SHEARWATER is called over the FRS radios and immediately on the
      PA. Everyone gathers at the spot but the bird flies away into the
      distance. We spend a fair amount of time trying to refind it without
      success. This is only the 6th record for the Monterey Bay.

      We venture into the fog hoping to find some cetaceans reported the
      previous day but see only a couple of very lost ELEGANT TERNS offshore.
      As we break back out of the fog Richard spots a blow and we manage to
      find what is initially puzzling. Turns out to be a male KILLER WHALE
      with a flopped over dorsal fin. This limp dorsal is assumed to be a side
      effect of stress. Soon we find he is in the company of three others
      including a fairly young calf. These and several groups of PACIFIC
      WHITE-SIDED DOLPHINS are the only cetaceans we'll see today.

      Later in the day Don Roberson calls out TUFTED PUFFIN and we enjoy some
      great looks at this bird right beside the boat. This stirs the nappers
      on board but not as much as a FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER that flies right
      in front of the wheelhouse windows and then to the chumline where he is
      attacked by a HEERMAN'S GULL behaving very much like a jaeger. The
      flesh-foot flies all around the boat trying to shake the gull and
      everyone on board gets looks that couldn't be better.

      Thanks again to our fearless leaders Don Roberson and Dan Singer as well
      as our great seabirding skipper Richard Ternullo. Our next outing will
      be on Nov. 9 Cost is $70 per person. 831-375-4658.

      Roger Wolfe
      Soquel, CA
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