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GOT TUBENOSES? Sep 23, 24, 25 Report

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  • Debi Shearwater
    Hello, Seabirders, This is a trip report for the Shearwater Journey s pelagic trips on September 23, 24, and 25, 2005. For those folks who signed on for all
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 27, 2005
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      Hello, Seabirders,

      This is a trip report for the Shearwater Journey's pelagic trips on
      September 23, 24, and 25, 2005. For those folks who signed on for all three
      trips (most of the out-of-state birders), the highlight was THIRTEEN SPECIES
      OF TUBENOSES. The September 23 and 24 trips departed from Monterey Bay,
      while the September 25 trip departed from Bodega Bay. Such a selection of
      trips allows one the maximum possibility of finding the widest variety of
      seabirds. Indeed, for the seabirders who participated in all three trips, a
      total of 38 seabird species were seen, and 11 marine mammal species.

      Highlights of the September 23rd trip included six species of shearwaters: 1
      MANX SHEARWATER(a CBRC reportable species) found by Steve Howell; 3
      FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATERS, 5 SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATERS, 300 PINK-FOOTED
      SHEARWATERS, 150 BULLER'S SHEARWATERS, and 1000 SOOTY SHEARWATERS. This was
      the only Manx Shearwater that our trips have found this fall season, the
      first of the Short-tailed Shearwaters which seem to have arrived earlier
      this fall, and a good show on the Flesh-footed Shearwaters. Other highlights
      included: the first arriving NORTHERN FULMARS, BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES, a
      sprinkling of ASHY STORM-PETRELS, many SOUTH POLAR SKUAS, and a good show on
      POMARINE and PARASITIC JAEGERS. The weather was quite breezy. We could not
      make it up to the area where we first discovered the massive flock of 8000
      storm-petrels on September 12th. Overall, this was a good day of seabirding.

      Highlights of the fantastic September 24th trip included: five species of
      storm-petrels: 1 WILSON'S STORM-PETREL, 1 FORK-TAILED STORM-PETREL, 4500
      ASHY STORM-PETRELS, 250 BLACK STORM-PETRELS, and 8 LEAST STORM-PETRELS. The
      storm-petrel flock had moved, not surprisingly, oweing to the strong winds
      of the previous day. The skipper and I put our heads together, and based on
      our extensive historical data, and the most recent data, we decided to try a
      location new for this year. Bingo! I should mention that there is no real
      place to go look for these flocks, year after year. They are quite
      enigmatic, and can be along any number of different canyon edges. So, it is
      a bit of magic just to find any size flock of storm-petrels. The lone
      Fork-tailed was sleeping on the water, allowing everyone to get great views.
      The number of Black Storm-Petrels was higher than what we found on September
      12th. Same for the very few Least Storm-Petrels. Perhaps, they are just
      arriving which would be normal for most fall seasons. Other highlights
      included large numbers of SOUTH POLAR SKUAS and POMARINE JAEGERS. I arrived
      at the dock to find leader, Nikolas Haass, pointing out a SABINE'S GULL that
      was in the harbor. Weather conditions for this trip were very good, although
      there was some leftover swell from the wind the previous day.

      The September 25th trip from Bodega Bay had to be the frosting on the cake
      for this entire weekend! Weather conditions were over the top‹absolutely
      excellent, except perhaps for the glaring sun. (overcast skies are
      prefered). What a super-fantastic trip, both in terms of the seabird and
      marine mammal display. We added four new species to our weekend-long list:
      the first wintering HERRING GULL, 1 TUFTED PUFFIN, 90 CASSIN'S AUKLETS, and
      2 RED PHALAROPES. It seemed that the BULLER'S SHEARWATERS were staging for
      their migration south, as we encountered flocks of 50-75 sitting on the
      water, and then, wheeling in ballet-like flight in the morning sunlight.
      NORTHERN FULMARS, on the other hand, seemed to have made a great arrival
      from their breeding grounds in Alaska/Bering Sea. We recorded a total of 565
      fulmars, which seemed to be arriving throughout the day. SOOTY SHEARWATERS
      seemed to have mostly departed the area, and we only found 80. This made
      picking out the FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATERS much easier, and we recorded a high
      count of 6 Flesh-foots. Although there are no longer many fishing vessels in
      this area, we did find a dragger with 60 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES feeding on
      the bycatch. This is the highest concentration of albatrosses for the fall
      season, to date. The first fall RED PHALAROPES showed up. Most have been
      100+ miles offshore this season. A single TUFTED PUFFIN was in the
      predicted location of 60 fathoms. Most of our records of Tufted Puffins from
      the Bodega Bay area have been in 40-60 fathoms. Heading over to the north
      end of Cordell Bank, we finally encountered many CASSIN'S AUKLETS, a species
      that has had an erratic distribution this fall as it searches for its
      favored prey item‹krill. The grande finale of the day was a huge feeding
      concentration of 1000 PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHINS, 100 NORTHERN RIGHT WHALE
      DOLPHINS, 5 HUMPBACK WHALES, and a variety of gulls, a few shearwaters, and
      Northern Fulmars. All were feeding on baby sardines. In a spectacular
      display, the white-sided dophins darkened the water from the distance, as
      they chased the sardines. The dolphins would pound and herd the sardines,
      and then zip through the schools of fish, while chowing down. Many sardines
      would fly into the air, and get picked off by the hovering gulls,
      shearwaters, and fulmars! The dolphins would ride the bow of the boat in the
      crystal clear blue water, vying for the best position. On at least one
      occassion, a white-sided dolphin's fully extended penis was witnessed! The
      entire feeding display was quite a sight in the dazzling sunlight, not to
      mention a great photo-op! We covered Bodega Canyon, the area north of the
      canyon, and parts of Cordell Bank, in total 80 miles of boat driving. We
      returned to the dock at 5:30 pm. This was one of those days that remains in
      your heart and head for a long time. The chance to witness migration in
      action‹the departure of the southern species, and arrival of the northern
      species‹ feeding seabirds and marine mammals in action‹ the return of the
      sardines‹ and the glories of great weather at sea. Life at sea doesn't get
      much better than this. And, for those who participated in all three days,
      memories that can last a lifetime were had by all.

      The leaders for Sep 23 were: Steve Howell, Jennifer Green, Mike Danzenbaker,
      Scott Terrill, Linda Terrill, and Debra Shearwater. Leaders for Sep 24:
      Nikolas Haass, Denise Wight, Clay Kempf, Jim Danzenbaker, and Debra
      Shearwater. Leaders for Sep 25: Steve Howell, Alan Hopkins, Nikolas Haass,
      Mike Danzenbaker, and Debra Shearwater.

      Upcoming trips for the fall season‹from Monterey: Sep 30, Oct 1, 2 (only 2
      spaces open), 7 (only 4 spaces open), 8 (only 4 spaces open), 9, and 21.
      Bodega Bay: Oct 10 & 14. Fort Bragg: Oct 16. Please call Debi at
      831/637-8527, or email: debi@... for a reservation, asap.

      Our 2006 program of trips is on the web site: www.shearwaterjourneys.com.

      The complete species list for September 23/ 24/ 25, 2005 follows:

      PACIFIC LOON- 0/1/0
      COMMON LOON- 1/1/8
      WESTERN GREBE- 1/1/0
      BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS- 6/5/70
      NORTHERN FULMAR- 4/7/565
      PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER- 300/150/200
      FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER- 3/0/6
      BULLER'S SHEARWATER- 150/75/300
      SOOTY SHEARWATER- 150/300/80
      SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER- 5/0/0
      *MANX SHEARWATER- 1/0/0
      WILSON'S STORM-PETREL- 0/1or 2/1 or 2
      FORK-TAILED STORM-PETREL- 1/0/0
      ASHY STORM-PETREL- 5/4500/150
      BLACK STORM-PETREL- 0/250/0
      LEAST STORM-PETREL- 0/8/0
      BROWN PELICAN- +/+/+
      BRANDT'S CORMORANT- +/+/+
      PELAGIC CORMORANT- 10/10/in harbor
      SURF SCOTER- 0/1/5
      BLACK OYSTERCATCHER- 0/0/2
      BLACK TURNSTONE- 5/3/4
      SURFBIRD- 0/0/3
      DUNLIN- 0/0/70 offshore
      SANDERLING- 0/0/1 offshore
      RED-NECKED PHALAROPE- 50/30/30
      RED PHALAROPE- 0/0/2
      SOUTH POLAR SKUA- 13/17/11 to 13
      POMARINE JAEGER- 12/8/5
      POMARINE/PARASITIC JAEGER- 2/0/1
      PARASITIC JAEGER- 9/1/0
      HEERMANN'S GULL- 450/+/20
      CALIFORNIA GULL- 450/+/+
      HERRING GULL- 0/0/1
      WESTERN GULL- 150/+/+
      GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL- 0/1/0
      SABINE'S GULL- 0/1-in harbor, 2 offshore/2 adults
      ELEGANT TERN- 10/2/0
      COMMON TERN- 3 juv/ 1/0
      COMMON MURRE- 35/30/180
      PIGEON GUILLEMOT- 0/4/4
      CASSIN'S AUKLET- 0/0/90
      RHINOCEROS AUKLET- 10/40/200
      TUFTED PUFFIN- 0/0/1
      SEA OTTER- +/+/0
      CALIFORNIA SEA LION- +/+/+
      NORTHERN FUR SEAL- 1/2/2
      NORTHERN ELEPHANT SEAL- 0/0/2 juv.
      HARBOR SEAL- +/+/+
      MINKE WHALE- 0/0/1
      HUMPBACK WHALE- 3/2/5
      NORTHERN RIGHT WHALE DOLPHIN- 0/20/100
      PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHIN- 0/12/1000
      RISSO'S DOLPHIN- 0/400/0
      DALL'S PORPOISE- 0/0/2
      OCEAN SUNFISH- 10/0/10
      BLUE SHARK-1/0/2
      PEREGRINE FALCON- 0/0/2

      Shearwaters forever,
      Debi
      ---
      http://www.shearwaterjourneys.com
      Debi Shearwater <debiluv@...>
      Shearwater Journeys
      P.O. Box 190
      Hollister, CA 95024
      831-637-8527





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