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Shearwater Journeys Oct 8 Santa Cruz Pelagic Report

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  • SKUA@MSN.com
    Dear Calbirders: The October 8th Santa Cruz trip was our fourth and final trip of the Columbus Day Weekend, and once again we had spectacular weather. The calm
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 10, 2001
      Dear Calbirders:

      The October 8th Santa Cruz trip was our fourth and final trip of the
      Columbus Day Weekend, and once again we had spectacular weather. The
      calm seas were accompanied by mixed clouds and sun, and at several
      points in the trip, I shed layers down to my T-shirt. Not many days
      off the central CA coast give you that opportunity

      We started the trip as always with a search along the Santa Cruz
      shoreline for Marbled Murrelet. The looks we get from the boat are
      usually far superior than can be obtained from shore, and it is
      always exciting to see these endangered alcids up close. Over a few
      minutes, we spotted 5, and then turned our attention to points
      offshore. We proceeded northwest, up past Davenport, searching the
      various canyons and edges for birds. Overall bird numbers were down,
      but species diversity was still quite good. We encountered both Blue
      and Humpback whales, and several friendly humpbacks swam right across
      the bow, giving us excellent looks. A trawler produced a few more
      shearwaters and a Fulmar, and as we left the trawler, a Black-footed
      Albatross crossed path, making its way towards the flock of wheeling
      birds behind the trawler.

      Out along the canyons, we began to see mixed groups of storm-petrels.
      Both Ashy and Black were represented, but Ashy's outnumbered Blacks
      about 9:1. Eventually, we were able to approach some small flocks on
      the water quite closely, and everyone got good looks at the different
      shapes and flight styles. After getting good looks at the storm-
      petrels, we headed south towards one of the canyons. The birding
      slowed down a bit, and I was in the stern chatting with some of the
      participants, when I noticed a single shearwater approaching from the
      stern. I picked up my Bins (still in mid conversations) and
      screamed "Greater Shearwater"! A beautiful Greater Shearwater
      approached from the stern and flew up the left side of the boat, and
      across the bow. There are only a handful of records for this bird in
      the North Pacifc, and most of those records are from Shearwater
      Journeys trips. Everyone was able to see the bird, and a few photos
      were snapped. Sabine's Gulls and a distant Skua were the highlights
      after the Greater, and we enjoyed a lovely ride back to the harbor.

      Unlike Petrels, rare shearwaters can sometimes be relocated on
      subsequent trips. The first Greater Shearwater was seen 2 days, and
      the 1998 Wedge-tailed Shearwater was seen 3 times over a 10 day
      period, so those of you looking for Streaked and Greater Shearwaters
      should think about the upcoming trips in Monterey Bay this weekend.

      Upcoming trips:

      Shearwater Triangle – Moss Landing Oct 13, 20, 27
      Santa Cruz – Marbled Murrelet and Storm-Petrels Oct
      Cordell Bank – Bodega Bay Oct 15

      Call Debi Shearwater at 831-637-8527 or email to Debiluv@...
      Visit the Shearwater Journeys website at www.shearwaterjourneys.com .

      Species list:

      All birds in Santa Cruz County

      Common Loon 12
      Pacific Loon 5
      Red-throated Loon 1
      Western Grebe 18
      Black-footed Albatross 2
      Sooty Shearwater 20
      Pink-footed Shearwater 60
      Northern Fulmar 5
      Ashy Storm-petrel 450
      Black-storm-petrel 50
      Pomarine Jaeger 6
      Parasitic Jaeger 3
      South Polar Skua 1
      Western Gull +++
      California Gull +++
      Heerman's Gull +++
      Sabine's Gull 4
      Elegant Tern 7
      Rhinoceros Auklet 10
      Cassin's Auklet 8
      Red-necked Phalarope 55
      Surfbird 2
      Black Turnstone 2
      Whales and Other Marine Life

      Humpback Whale 4-6
      Blue Whale 2
      Pacific White-sided Dolphin 40
      Harbor Porpoise 2
      Harbor Seal ++
      California Sea lion ++
      Sea otter ++
      Blue Shark 1
      Mola Mola 7

      For Shearwater Journeys

      Todd McGrath
      Marina del Rey CA
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