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April 22, Santa Barbara pelagic trip report

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  • Jonathan S. Feenstra
    Birders, April 22 was the LA Audubon sponsored pelagic trip from Santa Barbara to the San Juan Seamount and the surrounding 2000 fathom line of the continental
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 27, 2006
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      Birders,

      April 22 was the LA Audubon sponsored pelagic trip from Santa Barbara to the San Juan Seamount and the surrounding 2000 fathom line of the continental shelf onboard the Condor Express.
      Although we did not find any of the sought-after Murphy's Petrels, we had an impressive list of great birds that made the trip exciting all day. Highlights included - an alternate-plumaged Tufted Puffin about 10 miles out of the harbor, 2 Flesh-footed Shearwaters south of San Miguel Is, both Laysan and Black-footed Albatrosses, 7 Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels at various locations over deep water including 4 at once, an adult Long-tailed Jaeger, and an Ancient Murrelet.

      We left the harbor at 7AM and returned at about 9PM. The weather was reasonably calm with some wind and minor swell developing well southwest of the Channel Islands (unseasonably calm). We hit a rain squall for about a half hour near the 1000 fathom line southwest of San Miguel but otherwise the day was a pleasant mix of sun and clouds. Birds were with the boat for most of the day - largely fly-bys of Sooty Shearwaters, Leach's Storm-Petrels, and Red and Red-necked Phalaropes. Two Black-footed Albatrosses rode the wake for most of the afternoon. We also encountered an immature gull that may have been a hybrid GlaucousxGlaucous-winged, but it remains unidentified and puzzling. Several people on board did manage to get photos.
      Marine mammals were rather sparse, with a couple of groups of Dall's Porpoise and several distant whale blows.

      The full species list:
      Pacific Loon - 150
      Common Loon - 2
      Laysan Albatross - 6
      Black-footed Albatross - 5
      Northern Fulmar - 12
      Pink-footed Shearwater - 87
      Flesh-footed Shearwater - 2
      Sooty Shearwater - 672
      Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel - 7
      Leach's Storm-Petrel - 59
      Ashy Storm-Petrel - 2
      Storm-Petrel sp. - 2
      Brown Pelican - 23
      Brandt's Cormorant - 300
      Pelagic Cormorant - 2
      Red-necked Phalarope - 200
      Red Phalarope - 41
      phalarope sp. - 6
      Pomarine Jaeger - 16
      Long-tailed Jaeger - 1
      jaeger sp. - 1
      Bonaparte's Gull - 50
      California Gull - x
      Western Gull - x
      Glaucous? x ? Gull - 1
      Sabine's Gull - 20
      Royal Tern - 2
      Forster's Tern - 15
      Least Tern - 1
      Pigeon Guillemot - 7
      Xantus's Murrelet - 12
      Ancient Murrelet - 1
      Cassin's Auklet - 32
      Rhinoceros Auklet - 21
      Tufted Puffin - 1

      Thanks to the staff of the Condor Express, the other leaders Todd McGrath, Dave Pereksta, Dave Compton, our chummer Oscar Johnson, and LA Audubon for organizing this great trip.


      Jon Feenstra
      Pasadena, CA

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