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Farallon Islands Report 6 Aug 2006

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  • Debi Shearwater
    Hello, Seabirders, Shearwater Journey s annual pelagic trip to the Farallon Islands was held on August 6th. Under totally gorgeous skies and seas, we enjoyed
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 8, 2006
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      Hello, Seabirders,

      Shearwater Journey's annual pelagic trip to the Farallon Islands was
      held on August 6th. Under totally gorgeous skies and seas, we enjoyed
      outstanding views of a dozen TUFTED PUFFINS, the target species for
      this trip. Two boats of birders departed from Sausalito for the islands
      at 8 am. The skies were bright, sunny, (no fog!), and seas were calm
      and it was a balmy, warm day. We not only enjoyed great views of the
      islands and their associated breeding seabirds, but also the Golden
      Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline, normally enshrouded in fog.
      Seabird highlights included 1 MANX SHEARWATER (seen only by one of the
      boats), 1 NORTHERN FULMAR (again, seen by only one of the boats),
      PINK-FOOTED and SOOTY SHEARWATERS, RED-NECKED PHALAROPES, thousands of
      COMMON MURRES, at least 200 PIGEON GUILLEMOTS, 30 CASSIN'S AUKLETS, 8
      RHINOCEROS AUKLETS, the TUFTED PUFFINS with their golden tufts blowing
      in the wind, a dozen HUMPBACK WHALES, HARBOR PORPOISES on the shelf,
      and fantastic views of a male ORCA!

      Whenever two boats are doing a trip, there is always the possibility
      that one boat will see some species that the other boat will not see,
      especially if the birds are flying by, even if the boats are within
      sight distance of each other. This was the case for August 6th. But,
      overall, we did pretty much see the same species suite, and even close
      to the same numbers of birds. This trip always sells out, every year,
      and usually by June 1st. Even adding a second boat, we still had to
      turn people away from the trip. Shearwater Journeys only does one trip
      to the Farallon Islands. The purpose of the trip is to see Tufted
      Puffins, which we have a 100% success rate of accomplishing this. The
      second reason to go on this trip, is to see the islands, and experience
      the sights and sounds of the largest nesting seabird colony south of
      Alaska on the west coast. To protect the nesting seabirds, landing is
      not permitted on the islands. However, hearing the squeaky calls of the
      Pigeon Guillemots, and gutteral calls of the Common Murres, and seeing
      the alcids flying in and out of their nesting sites, is quite a
      spectacle. Because the trip out to the islands is on the continental
      shelf, very few true seabirds are found on this trip. Hence, no
      albatrosses and few jaegers and other species. Even though we did get
      beyond the shelf on this trip, there were precious few seabirds around.
      This is not always the case, but it was on this day. If you really want
      to see albatrosses and lots of shearwaters and possibly storm-petrels,
      you should do this trip in combination with a Bodega Bay or Monterey
      trip, where we hit the edge of the shelf early in the day.

      The total species list follows:

      NORTHERN FULMAR-1
      SOOTY SHEARWATER-2000
      PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER-2
      MANX SHEARWATER-1
      BROWN PELICAN- 1000's
      BRANDT'S CORMORANT-1000's
      DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT-100
      PELAGIC CORMORANT-20
      RED-NECKED PHALAROPE-35
      RED PHALAROPE-2
      JAEGER Sp.-2
      HEERMANN'S GULL-10
      CALIFORNIA GULL-10
      WESTERN GULL-1000's
      ELEGANT TERN-75
      CASPIAN TERN-2
      COMMON MURRE-1000's
      PIGEON GUILLEMOT-200+
      CASSIN'S AUKLET-35
      RHINOSCEROS AUKLET-8
      TUFTED PUFFIN-12
      CALIFORNIA SEA LION-600
      STELLER'S SEA LION-1 male
      NORTHERN ELEPHANT SEAL-10
      HARBOR SEAL-12
      HUMPBACK WHALE-12
      KILLER WHALE-3
      RISSO'S DOLPHIN-15
      HARBOR PORPOISE-10-12

      The leaders for this trip were Alan Hopkins, Lisa Hug, Steve Howell,
      and Debra Shearwater. The sea surface temperature was 59-60 F.

      Our annual Farallon Islands trip for next year is scheduled for Sunday,
      August 5, 2007.

      Shearwater Journeys has a number of upcoming pelagic trips, as this is
      the beginning of the fall seabird migration. From MONTEREY: Aug 11 & 18
      and Sep 3, 9, 11, 22. 23, 29, Oct 1, 6, 8, 22, and 28. Our
      Albacore-Offshore Monterey trips are scheduled for Sep 10 (limited
      spaces available), Sep 30, Oct 7 & 15. These trips run from 5:30 am
      until 5:30 pm and specifically search for Xantus and Craveri's
      Murrelets. They are also excellent for finding South Polar Skua and
      lots of jaegers. From FORT BRAGG, we have trips running Aug 13, 25, &
      26 and Sep 17. These trips depart from Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg at
      6:30 am on the TREK II. From BODEGA BAY, we have trips running on Aug
      15 & 28 and Sep 8, 15, 24 (limited spaces), and Oct 9 & 13. Spaces are
      available on all of these trips at this time.

      RESERVATIONS: You can secure a reservation by sending a check or money
      order to Debra Shearwater at PO Box 190, Hollister, CA 95924. Be sure
      to include your name, address, phone/email, for each person signing up,
      and the date of the trip(s). Please note: Debra will be out of the
      office, beginning August 11th, either on a boat, driving to a boat, or
      working her booth at the British Bird Fair until August 29th. For
      reservations during the period Aug 12-28 ONLY, please contact Jennifer
      Green at greenotr@..., or 831/479-3521.

      Thank you to all the wonderful folks who made the Farallon Islands'
      trip such a great success! Hope to see you out there�

      Shearwaters forever,
      Debi
      Debra Love Shearwater
      Shearwater Journeys
      www.shearwaterjourneys.com
      debi@...
      PO Box 190
      Hollister, CA 95024 USA
      831/637-8527

      "Real birds eat squid."�Tony Marr

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