November 29, 2003 Trip Report
- Hello, Seabirders,
Shearwater Journeys concluded the fall season (August 1-November 30) with
its last boat trip from Monterey, yesterday, just prior to arrival of the
latest rainy storm. It was a very successful day, and we were delighted that
the storm stalled for a day. We began the morning with glassy seas covered
with NORTHERN FULMARS just outside of the harbor. The usual BLACK TURNSTONES
were found along the Coast Guard Jetty. The male HARLEQUIN DUCK was spotted
by Ryan Terrill along Cannery Row, and the PEREGRINE FALCON was sitting on
top of the highest silver stack at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Two HUMPBACK
WHALES were feeding on schools of anchovies or small sardines just off of
Point Pinos. Incredibly, a single XANTUS' MURRELET was in the same area. Our
skipper, Tinker, informed us that a large bubble of warm water, up to 60F
had pushed into the area last week. Perhaps the murrelet, and the numbers of
unexpected BULLER'S SHEARWATERS were related to the remants of this warm
water. Only 3 miles off the coast, we spotted our first CASSIN'S AUKLETS and
2 ANCIENT MURRELETS. Lots of whitewater in the distance indicated hundreds
of RISSO'S DOLPHINS, breaching and head-slapping. Soon, we also caught up
with them and some NORTHERN RIGHT WHALE DOLPHINS and PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED
DOLPHINS. The trip was shaping up to be a very fine day.
We headed south along the coast, as the wind was just beginning to pick up,
causing some small swells. This way, we would have following seas on our
return trip to the dock, making for a very pleasant ride. The views of the
Big Sur coastline were just beautiful. At Sobrannes Canyon, we encountered
quite a number of tubenoses, including 4 different FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATERS,
and excellent studies of a SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER, diving in our wake.
Occassional Buller's Shearwaters continued to fly by, and several POMARINE
JAEGERS made passes at the large flock of gulls collecting at our stern.
BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES cruising by, as well.
We turned northward for our trip home, when leader Alvaro Jaramillo spotted
a couple of ORCAS! Now, we did an about face in the mounting south winds,
and were able to find the male orca again! Heading home, we encountered the
morning's dolphins on their way south. Like a traffic jam out there! All in
all, a very excellent day for a late November trip. Few trips at this time
of year see both Xantus' and Ancient Murrelets! One puzzling aspect of the
trip was that the black-footed albatrosses seemed to have moved away from
Monterey Bay for the past 3 weeks. Also, there were very few common murres,
when they would normally be abundant in November.
Our next trips are: the entirely pelagic Christmas Bird Count on Monday,
December 15th. We will meet at 7:30 am at Chris' Fishing Shop on Fishermans'
Wharf in Monterey. We will return at 3:30 pm. Bring lunch and dress warmly.
As the office will be closed until Dec. 14th, please just show up, if you
are interested in this trip. You will be assured a place on the boat. The
boat fee is $80 and there is a $5 count fee that is paid to National Audubon
Society. We've found some great seabirds on this trip, including
Short-tailed Albatross, Yellow-billed Loon, Laysan Albatross, etc. Many of
the Shearwater Journey's leaders will be on board: Alan Hopkins, Luke Cole,
Jennifer Green, Scott Terrill, Linda Terrill, Steve Howell, Peter Pyle, and
Shearwater Journey's winter trips include the regular trip on Saturday,
January 24th, running from 7 am until 3 pm. And, we have added a shorter
version for those folks who might want to just have a first experience, or a
shorter day, on Sunday, January 25th from 8:30 am until noon. Please see our
web site for these trips, or call after December 16th for more information.
The complete list for the NOVEMBER 29, 2003 trip follows:
CALIFORNIA SEA LION-100+
NORTHERN RIGHT WHALE DOLPHIN-80
PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHIN-6
GREAT BLUE HERON-1
Debi Shearwater <debiluv@...>
P.O. Box 190
Hollister, CA 95024