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A WAVE OF SEABIRDS & SAVING A WHALE

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  • Debi Shearwater
    Hello, Seabirders, Shearwater Journeys trip from Monterey Bay on Sunday, September 3, 2006 was full of surprises. Highlights included a FALLOUT OF RAINING
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 4, 2006
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      Hello, Seabirders,

      Shearwater Journeys trip from Monterey Bay on Sunday, September 3, 2006
      was full of surprises. Highlights included a FALLOUT OF " RAINING
      SEABIRDS" and saving a HUMPBACK WHALE that was entangled in fishing
      gear.

      Excellent weather and seas prevailed throughout our trip. The sea
      surface temperature ranged from 56-58 F, coming down from the high of
      60 F which endured the month of August. This is good news for seabirds,
      and will bring a better mix to Monterey. It was a Beaufort 1, with
      uniformly, high overcast skies, perfect for finding most seabirds. So,
      we headed south to the Sur Ridge. The leaders for this trip were Clay
      Kempf, Jennifer Green, Don Doolittle, and Debra Shearwater.

      Off Cypress Point, we found our first whale, a HUMPBACK. It was logging
      at the surface, oddly near two floating buoys for black cod fishing. We
      quickly realized that the whale's tail, or at least some part of its
      anatomy, was entangled in the fishing gear. The whale could breathe,
      but it could not move. Debra and the skipper, Tinker, immediately
      sprung to action, making numerous phone calls, which mostly lead to
      nowhere. The United States Coast Guard stated that they had been
      "monitoring the situation for three days." Monitoring what? Other
      agencies that we called were unavailable. (It was a holiday weekend,
      afterall). Finally, Tinker called one of the researchers that he knew.
      She managed to get clearance from NOAA for some folks to go out and
      free the whale. They did this, and we understand that it was videotaped
      for the news last night. (Since I don't watch TV, I don't know if it
      was covered, or not). But, we did get the outcome�the tangled whale was
      freed and headed straight off for Hawaii at high speed!

      Our trip was fairly "normal"�encountering a smidgen of species here and
      there� RED-NECKED PHALAROPES in the harbor, plentiful ELEGANT TERNS
      along the kelp beds of Cannery Row, SOOTY SHEARWATERS appearing just
      off Point Pinos, BLACK-FOOED ALBATROSSES a few more miles out, then
      PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS, one PARASITIC JAEGER, COMMON MURRES and
      RHINOCEROS AUKLETS in small flocks.

      Suddenly the entire cadence of the trip quickened, and we were in the
      midst of a true SEABIRD FALLOUT! It was, quite literally, "raining
      jaegers"! Flocks of pink-footed shearwaters, mixed with a sprinkling of
      Buller's Shearwaters were popping up all over. I stopped the boat to
      double check on a murre (thinking possible thick-billed), and a SOUTH
      POLAR SKUA picked up off the water and made several passes over our
      vessel, giving a great show. We had a complete slam on the jaegers.
      Small numbers of terns and SABINE'S GULLS cruised up our wake. But, the
      sheer numbers of seabirds meant that we had found a migrating flock,
      much the way one hopes for a "warbler fallout" in migration at their
      hotspots (Texas coast, Cape May, NJ, etc.)

      It is always important to remember that food is not evenly distributed
      on the ocean, and hence, neither are the seabirds. And, a wave of
      migrants is always possible, but seldom witnessed as such a dramatic
      event.

      We invite you to join the Shearwater Journeys leaders on the following
      trips:

      FRIDAY, SEP 8TH from BODEGA BAY with Lisa Hug, Jennifer Green, Jim
      Danzenbaker, Mike Danzenbaker, Don Doolittle, & Debra Shearwater
      (plenty of spaces open, see our 8/28 trip report)

      SATURDAY, SEP 9TH from MONTEREY with Clay Kempf, Denise Wight, Brian
      Sullivan, Jim Danzenbaker, Mike Danzenbaker, Don Doolittle, & Debra
      Shearwater (only 3 spaces open)

      SUNDAY SEP 10TH from MONTEREY offshore to the ALBACORE GROUNDS with
      Jennifer Green, Scott Terrill, Linda Terrill, Clay Kempf, Don
      Doolittle, & Debra Shearwater (only 4 spaces open)

      MONDAY SEP 11TH from MONTEREY to the SUR RIDGE with Ted Chandik, Brian
      Sullivan, Jim Danzenbaker, Don Doolittle, & Debra Shearwater (only 5
      spaces open)

      FRIDAY SEP 15 from BODEGA BAY with Lisa Hug, Peter Pyle, Steve Howell,
      Jim Danzenbaker, & Debra Shearwater (8 spaces open)

      SUNDAY SEP 17 from FORT BRAGG with Lisa Hug, Jim Danzenbaker, & Debi
      Shearater (plenty of spaces, see our August trip reports!)

      FUTURE TRIPS: We have only a very limited number of spaces open on the
      Sep 22 & 23 Monterey trips. Spaces are open on the following trips: Sep
      24, 29, & 30; Oct 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 15, 22, 28.

      The full species list for the SEPTEMBER 3, 2006 MONTEREY trip follows:

      WESTERN GREBE-1
      BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS-23
      NORTHERN FULMAR-5
      PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER-240
      BULLER'S SHEARWATER-23
      SOOTY SHEARWATER-3000+
      SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER-1
      BROWN PELICAN-75
      BRANDT'S CORMORANT-450+
      PELAGIC CORMORANT-3
      GREAT BLUE HERON-1 standing on the kelp beds
      GREAT EGRET-2 standing on the kelp beds
      SNOWY EGRET-3 standing on the kelp beds
      BLACK TURNSTONE-7
      DOWITCHER SP.-19
      RED PHALAROPE-1
      RED-NECKED PHALAROPE-50
      SOUTH POLAR SKUA-1
      POMARINE JAEGER-38
      POMARINE/PARASITIC-5
      PARASITIC JAEGER-5
      PARASITIC/LONG-TAILED-7
      LONG-TAILED JAEGER-5
      HEERMANN'S GULL-80+
      CALIFORNIA GULL-20+
      THAYER'S GULL-1
      WESTERN GULL-350+
      SABINE'S GULL-25
      ELEGANT TERN-234
      COMMON TERN-2
      COMMON/ARCTIC TERN-9
      ARCTIC TERN-2
      COMMON MURRE-176
      PIGEON GUILLEMOT-2
      RHINOCEROS AUKLET-136
      SEA OTTER-7
      CALIFORNIA SEA LION-150
      NORTHERN ELEPHANT SEAL-1
      HARBOR SEAL-30
      HUMPBACK WHALE-6 (+ one entangled & freed from fishing gear)
      BLUE SHARK-1
      BLACK PHOEBE-1 (19.8 miles offshore)
      Red tide in the harbor
      FLIP VESSEL OFFSHORE


      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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