Monterey Seabird Oct. 12 Trip report
- 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.