The Searcher, A Petrel, and A Kite
- Todd McGrath looked up from his cell phone and said to me, "Guy
found a Mississippi Kite in Imperial Beach a few days ago."
We were returning to Fisherman's Landing in San Diego at 0700 hours
this morning after 4 days of pelagic birding on The Searcher.
"Well," I replied, "I know where I'm going when we disembark."
I got to know the residential areas of Imperial Beach real well the
balance of the morning, starting at Carolina and Palm, then driving
in larger concentric rings. After 2.5 hours of peering up through
my windshield, I was ready to throw in the towel. On a hunch I
decided to check Carolina one more time before heading north. When
I turned left off Palm onto Carolina, there it was.
Here's a video of the kite:
About The Searcher Pelagic trip: With Steve Howell, Todd McGrath
and Don Des Jardin on board, everyone had a great time. It was a 5
Red-billed Tropicbird Trip: 2 in San Diego waters, 2 in LA County, 1
Pretty much everyone on board had Cook's Petrel on their hit list,
but it was not to be.
No Cook's were seen.
But there was a quite excellent consolation prize:
We had just crossed from Santa Barbara into Ventura County when Todd
asked the captain to slow the boat because there was shearawater
waaaaay off, a speck on the horizon, that seemed to be approaching
the boat. As it grew nearer, Todd repeatedly mumbled "it's probably
just a Pink-footed with all that white, but something doesn't look
quite right "
As the "shearwater" drew closer, it was clearly evident that it
wasn't a Pink-footed or Buller's but what was it? All of a sudden
it clicked with Todd and he shouted at the top of his lungs, "DARK-
RUMPED PETREL!!!! DARK-RUMPED PETREL!!!!"
The bird approached to within 100 feet, then banked along the port
side of the boat where camera clicked away. The look of a lifetime.
Terry Hunefeld, San Diego
Life is short.