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Feb 5, 2006 Pelagic Trip Report

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  • Debi Shearwater
    Hello, Seabirders, Shearwater Journeys first pelagic trip for 2006 was on February 5, 2006 from Monterey Bay. Winter pelagic trips can be very successful for
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 7, 2006
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      Hello, Seabirders,

      Shearwater Journeys' first pelagic trip for 2006 was on February 5, 2006
      from Monterey Bay. Winter pelagic trips can be very successful for finding
      some of the seabird specialties that are not found on our numerous fall
      (August, September, and October) trips. In particular, we search for:
      Black-footed Albatross, Northern Fulmar, Short-tailed Shearwater,
      Black-legged Kittiwake, and Ancient Murrelet. Of course, this is the prime
      time to witness the Gray Whale migration. Winter is the best time of year
      for observing numerous species of gulls. Our trip was successful on all
      accounts. In addition, we found two "bonus" species: 2 MARBLED MURRELETS,
      just outside of the harbor, and a TUFTED PUFFIN, and one HUMPBACK WHALE.

      The Coast Guard jetty was teeming with BRANDT'S CORMORANTS, busily carrying
      nesting material and performing courtship displays. The cormorants and all
      of the alcids were in brilliant breeding colors. I have never seen so many
      Brandt's on the jetty. It looks to be a bumper year, once again for this
      species. The usual BLACK TURNSTONES (13) were on the jetty rocks, along with
      a single SURFBIRD. Male and female HARLEQUIN DUCKS were inside the harbor.
      As usual, many loons and scoters were along the Cannery Row. The surprise
      was two Marbled Murrelets.

      After weeks of fine sea conditions, we were had to endure a northeast wind,
      which the forecast had definitely not predicted. Our captain headed to
      Carmel Bay, where we not only found relief from the sea conditions, but
      thousands and thousands of seabirds. Flocks and flocks of RHINOCEROS AUKLETS
      and many gulls, including hundreds of BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES were feeding
      on bait fish being driven to the surface by schooling mackeral. Our skipper
      threw a line over, and caught several mackeral for folks to see. Even admist
      all of this feeding frenzy birdlife, very few tubenoses were present. It was
      like pulling teeth to find shearwaters, and the single albatross. I cannot
      explain this. In past years, this has not been the case. Many RISSO'S
      DOLPHINS and some PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHINS were also off Carmel Bay. The
      TUFTED PUFFIN, spotted by our skipper, sitting on the water, gave a great
      show for all on board.

      The leaders for this trip were: Sophie Webb, Jennifer Green, Hannah Nevins,
      and Debra Shearwater. Our pro chummmers were: John Hiles, Matt Brady, and
      David VanderPluym.

      Our next scheduled trip is May 21 from Monterey. Our summer/early fall trips
      begin with a July 28th trip from Monterey. The entire 2006 schedule is on
      our web site at: www.shearwaterjourneys.com. Spaces are open on all trips at
      this time. Spaces are still available on the BAJA & SEA OF CORTEZ WHALE
      WATCHING EXPEDITION from March 11-18, 2006 which Debra Shearwater is
      leading. See Don Doolittle's images of a recent trip to Scammon's Lagoon on
      our web site! Debra is "petting" one of the friendly Gray Whales.

      The entire list of species for February 5, 2006 follows:

      RED-THROATED LOON-1
      PACIFIC LOON- 52
      COMMON LOON- 20
      HORNED GREBE- 1
      EARED GREBE- 22
      BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS- 1
      NORTHERN FULMAR- 125
      PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER- 1
      SOOTY SHEARWATER- 3
      SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER- 3
      BRANDT'S CORMORANT- 300 on the jetty
      DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT- 1
      PELAGIC CORMORANT- 40
      HARLEQUIN DUCK- 2
      SURF SCOTER- 200+
      WHITE-WINGED SCOTER- 2
      RED-BREASTED MERGANSER- 6
      RUDDY TURNSTONE- 1
      BLACK TURNSTONE- 13
      SURFBIRD- 1
      LEAST SANDPIPER- 2
      SANDERLING- 1
      POMARINE JAEGER- 1
      HEERMANN'S GULL- 50+
      MEW GULL- 120
      CALIFORNIA GULL- 75
      HERRING GULL- 25
      THAYER'S GULL- 2
      WESTERN GULL- 2000+
      GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL- 25
      WESTERN/GLAUCOUS-WINGED- 100+
      BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE- 750
      COMMON MURRE- 120
      PIGEON GUILLEMOT- 1
      MARBLED MURRELET- 2
      ANCIENT MURRELET- 2
      RHINOCEROS AUKLET- 600+
      TUFTED PUFFIN- 1
      SEA OTTER- 8
      CALIFORNIA SEA LION- 100
      GRAY WHALE- 12
      HUMPBACK WHALE- 1
      RISSO'S DOLPHIN- 85
      PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHIN- 40

      Good seabirding to all, and best wishes for the New Year,
      Debi
      ---
      http://www.shearwaterjourneys.com
      Debi Shearwater <debiluv@...>
      Shearwater Journeys
      P.O. Box 190
      Hollister, CA 95024
      831-637-8527
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