Socal Pelagic Trip, again!
- I was just informed bt higher powers that my lack of meaningful content in
the Subject Heading caused my previous post to be deleted from the Calbirds
archive. To keep my deathless prose preserved in the ether I hereby repost
my previous post that was my original post before it was deposted. My
apologies to those who read that post who'll have to read this post to
decide it's a repost of a previous but now deleted post.
>Yesterday's Conejo Valley and Ventura Audubon Societys' pelagic trip aboardMembership and set your mail option to No Email.
>the "Islander" was able to take advantage of the calm between the storms,
>and travelled 67 miles out from Ventura Harbor, well beyond San Nicolas
>Island, and return within 8 hours. We were extremely lucky with the
>weather, partly cloudy with wind speeds below 10 mph throughout the day.
>Swells ranged from none to no more than 6'; wind waves were not an issue.
>If anything the lack of wind kept many of the birds sitting on the water
>rather than flying. The stability and speed (22+ knots) of the "Islander"
>allowed us to observe birds in comfort, and follow several of them so we
>could get better views. This came in handy when we followed a South Polar
>Skua that decided to attack a (dark morph Pink-footed?) Shearwater. The
>skua forced the shearwater under water and kept it diving until the bird
>regurgitated it's previous meal. Other highlights included a Flesh-footed
>Shearwater, 2 South Polar Skuas, several Short-tailed Shearwaters, Cuvier's
>Beaked Whales, and the aforementioned Shearwater. Several people were able
>to photograph and videotape this anomolous bird. In size it appeared
>somewhat larger than a Pink-footed Shearwater, with dark upperparts and
>grayish-brown head and throat. The belly appeared pale with dark smudges.
>The underwings were white with broad dark borders. The base of the
>undersides of the wings, as well as the flanks directly below them were
>brownish. The tail was dark and longer than the feet. The bill was
>relatively thin, gray, and had a dark tip. Apart from the bill, this bird
>looked very similar to the dark morph PFSH illustrated opposite page 625 in
>Marchant and Higgins "Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic
>Birds" Vol. 1, part A.
>We had a surprising number of Sooty Shearwaters on the trip, and at least 3
>Short-tailed Shearwaters. All dark shearwaters weren't identified to species.
>Red-throated Loon -- 1
>Pacific Loon -- 50+
>Common Loon -- 2
>Eared Grebe -- 1
>Western Grebe -- 500
>Northern Fulmar -- 25
>Pink-footed Shearwater -- 10
>Flesh-footed Shearwater -- 1
>Sooty Shearwater -- ~30
>Short-tailed Shearwater -- 3
>Black-vented Shearwater -- 500+
>Brown Pelican -- 50+
>Brandt's Cormorant -- ~200
>Pelagic Cormorant -- 1
>South Polar Skua -- 2
>Pomarine Jaeger -- 5
>Parasitic Jaeger -- 1
>Bonaparte's Gull -- 3
>Heermann's Gull -- ~50
>California Gull -- 30
>Western Gull -- 200+
>Glaucous-winged Gull -- 1
>Black-legged Kittiwake -- 3
>Common Murre -- 6
>Xantus's Murrelet -- 4
>Cassin's Auklet -- 15+
>Rhinocerous Auklet -- 75
>Common Dolphin -- 800+
>Bottle-nosed Dolphin -- 5
>Risso's Dolphin -- 25
>Cuvier's Beaked Whale -- 6-8
>Northern Elephant Seal -- 2
>California Sea Lion -- 30+
>Harbor Seal -- 1
>Blue Shark -- 4
>Mola Mola -- 3 (2 of these were small individuals being torn apart by bull
>This initial trip with the "Islander" exceeded all of our expectations. We
>are tentatively planning two trips in 2002, One in May and a second in late
>August. Both would be 12 hour trips that would allow us to circle San
>Nicolas Island, and/or get out into truly deep water. The May trip would
>focus on spring migrants, with the possibility of finding Murphy's Petrels
>(I have seen them from San Nicolas Island in mid-May), while the August trip
>would look for such southern California specialties as Red-billed
>Tropicbird, Least Storm-petrel, and Craveris' Murrelet.
>If your interested in either of these trips, please contact me at the aove
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