Monterey Seabird Aug. 14
- Birders were making ticks before we even boarded the Pt. Sur Clipper on
Sunday morning. A scrappy little ANCIENT MURRELET put on a display of
its underwater flying abilities right under the wharf as we waited to
board. The bird looks to be in molt and appears to be oil stained.
Richard Ternullo first reported two of these birds in the harbor back on
The other interesting over summering bird in the harbor was easily found
in the company of a pair of Surf Scoters; a female HARLEQUIN DUCK near
the Coast Guard jetty.
We were on a mission today in search of the Short-tailed Albatross
reported on Fri. I told our two chummers Tanner Easterla and Big
SurOrnithology Lab intern Brett Tryon that I wanted to see a flock of
gulls at the stern at all times and they did a brilliant job of that.
They did succeed in attracting 45 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS but not the
hoped for Short-tailed. Oh well.
New arrivals in bay waters that weren't reported Friday were numerous
BULLER'S SHEARWATERS and two dozen XANTUS'S MURRELETS (all scrippsii).
We ended up with a four shearwater day when the sharp eyes of Todd
Easterla picked up a flyby MANX SHEARWATER.
It seems the large flocks of SOOTY SHEARWATERS we're used to seeing in
the southern portion of the bay in Santa Cruz County have all moved to
the north bay off Cypress Point.
Lots of PINK-FOOTS around too. SABINE'S GULLS were also seen in good
Other birds of note were several COMMON TERNS we found floating on
pieces of kelp or driftwood that we were able to closely approach and
clinch the ID. We found a single NORTHERN FULMAR.
In the alcid department we saw only a few CASSIN'S AUKLETS and
RHINOCEROS AUKLETS and found only one father-chick pair of COMMON
MURRES. These three species of seabirds suffered a widespread nest
failure in Northern California this year that is attributed to an
apparent disruption in the upwelling cycle that fuels the food chain off
Cetaceans did their best to upstage the seabirds. We saw 2 MINKE WHALES,
7 BLUES and 5 HUMPBACKS, with one breaching all the way out of the
water. We also encountered NORTHERN RIGHT WHALE, RISSO'S and PACIFIC
WHITE-SIDED DOLPHINS and a few DALL'S PORPOISE.
We were surprised to find a dozen NORTHERN FUR SEALS. We find these now
and then but a dozen is quite a showing.
Oddball sighting was of 2 MARBLED GODWITS that came in to check out the
chum at the back of the boat about 10 miles off Pt. Pinos.
Conspicuously absent were the skua clan of which we saw none.
Thanks go out to our fearless leaders: Don Roberson, Dan Singer, Todd
Easterla and Richard Ternullo and to our hardworking chummers Tanner
Easterla and Brett Tryon.
Our next trip is sheduled for Friday, Aug. 26 and then on Sunday Aug. 28
we will be venturing offshore to the albacore grounds. This was an
awesome trip last year and there are still plenty of spaces available at
$130 per person. Check out last year's trip report at
Roger Wolfe for Monterey Seabirds