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Baja pelagic report, Upcoming CA trips

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  • toddamcgrath
    Calbirders: On July 5th six CA birders chartered a fishing boat from Ensenada, Mexcio to look for pelagic birds and marine mammals. The trip was organized by
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 8 7:44 PM
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      Calbirders:

      On July 5th six CA birders chartered a fishing boat from Ensenada,
      Mexcio to look for pelagic birds and marine mammals. The trip was
      organized by Mark Billings and Marshall Iliff. We departed Ensenada
      harbor at 3 AM and proceeded west. Our plan was to get to the 1000
      fathom trench of Ensenada, but the speed of the boat and other
      factors made that impossible. About 30 miles out I spotted a
      distant bird that looked good for Cook's Petrel, but was too distant
      to be sure. At about 38 miles out we encountered another Cook's that
      was seen well. Over the course of the day we saw between 55-60
      Cook's, one as close as about 25 miles from shore. The other
      headline bird of the trip was a young Masked/Nazca Booby. Other
      Birds of note included an SY Long-tailed Jaeger, a Sabine's Gull,
      and 17 Black-footed Albatross, including one that followed the boat
      as far as Todos Santos Island, and would certainly have been easily
      visible from shore.

      Cook's Petrels are regular in summer off Mexico, but I was surprised
      how close to shore we were able to find them. This may indicate that
      we will have another good season for Cook's Petrels in So. Cal, and
      I wanted to let birders know about some upcoming trips that have a
      chance to see this species.

      Probably the best trip to see this species in US waters will be the
      multi-day trip out of San Diego on the Searcher Sept 4-8. Cost $850
      all inclusive except for crew gratuity. If you're interested in this
      trip, please contact Celia Condit at searcher@... for
      booking information. Last I talked to Celia there were only 5 or
      fewer spots left. We saw about 13 Cook's on this trip last fall, as
      well as a good assortment of other seabirds, including many Red-
      billed Tropicbirds.
      Last year we also encountered a single Cook's Petrel on the Cortez
      Bank during the LAAS Tropicbird trip. This trip generally doesn't
      get out to the deep waters, but based on where the birds have been
      off San Diego and Ensenada, we certainly have a chance to record
      them. I have attached a trip description with the LAAS website
      address for those who are interested. Note that this trip sells out
      every year, and anyone interested should not wait long to sign-up.

      Saturday, September 9 - a deep water trip toward Cherry, Tanner and
      Cortez Banks.
      This trip departs from Sea Landing in the Santa Barbara Harbor at 7
      a.m. on the Condor Express and returns approximately at 8 p.m. This
      is the Red-billed Tropicbird trip. We will be offshore in 3
      counties, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles. Birds expected:
      Black, Least, Ashy and Leach's storm-petrels; South Polar Skua:
      Parasitic, Pomarine and Long-tailed jaegers; Sabine's Gull and
      Arctic Tern. Rarities: Black-footed Albatross; Buller's Shearwater
      and Craveri's Murrelet. Blue, Fin and Minke whales as well as
      several species of dolphins may be seen.
      $198 - or you can save $5 with an early sign-up 60 days prior to
      departure
      http://www.laaudubon.org

      Of course there are no guarantees, and Sept is a long way off, but
      last year we had similar reports of Cook's in July from the San
      Diego fishing fleet, and those birds lingered long enough to be
      tallied on these trips. I hope some of you will be able to join
      these trips, and with luck we will have another banner year. Feel
      free to drop me a line if you would like more info.

      Todd McGrath
      Marina Del Rey
      SKUA@...
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