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Trip Report: The Searcher Pelagic April 14-18

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  • Terry Hunefeld
    Greetings, The Searcher departed San Diego at noon Saturday April 14 and returned the morning of April 18. This is her story. Once again, this incredible
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 20, 2007

      The Searcher departed San Diego at noon Saturday April 14 and returned
      the morning of April 18. This is her story.

      Once again, this incredible opportunity to see rare birds did not
      disappoint. Birds of interest included: Tufted Puffin; Short-tailed
      Shearwater; Laysan & Black-footed Albatross; Red-billed Tropicbird;
      Long-tailed, Pomarine and Parasitic Jaeger; Sabine's Gull;
      Black-legged Kittiwake; Xantus Murrelet; Northern Fulmar; Common Tern;
      Bonaparte's Gull; Rhinoceros & Cassin’s Auklet; Fork-tailed, Leach’s,
      Ashy and Black Storm-Petrels; Black Oystercatcher.

      We departed San Diego on Saturday and spent most of the daylight hours
      in San Diego waters logging Northern Fulmar, 4 species of shearwater,
      3 species of alcid, and 28 jaegers.

      A severe storm hit southern California late Saturday after sunset. . .
      and it was a doozy. Seas and wind speed increased all night and the
      captain brought us into shelter in Oxnard Marina just south of Ventura
      early Sunday morning. Passengers and crew watched the Coast Guard gale
      warning flags until late Sunday evening when winds and seas began to

      Early Monday morning the seas had quieted enough to make our way west
      in the lee of the Channel Islands, where we added Tufted Puffin,
      Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel, Pigeon Guillemot, Common Murre, Black-legged
      Kittiwake, Black Oystercatcher, Black-footed Albatross and more than
      450 shearwater.

      Tuesday in LA waters we added more great birds to our already
      extensive list: Long-tailed Jaeger, Laysan Albatross, Leach’s
      Storm-petrel and Red-billed Tropicbird. At the 60 mile bank Dave Povey
      laid an enormous tuna/cod/popcorn slick that created a Black
      Storm-Petrel frenzy of about 100 Blacks and at least one Ashy, joined
      by Northern Fulmar and Black-footed Albatross.

      Great fun was had by all. These trips are always exciting because you
      never know what you'll see at sea. The Searcher crew is competent,
      experienced, friendly and skilled at getting the boat on to birds. You
      can learn more about the September Searcher Pelagic trip at:

      Following is the sighting log of one of our “never-miss-a-bird”
      leaders, Jon Feenstra.

      Terry Hunefeld, San Diego
      Life is short. Bird often.

      * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

      Day 1: after leaving San Diego Harbor to just SE of Catalina Islands
      Surf Scoter 55
      Pacific Loon 42
      Common Loon 2
      Northern Fulmar 8
      Pink-footed Shearwater 48
      Sooty Shearwater 68
      Short-tailed Shearwater 1
      Black-vented Shearwater 1
      Black Storm-Petrel 2
      Brown Pelican 9
      Brandt’s Cormorant 9
      Double-crested Cormorant 1
      Pelagic Cormorant 1
      Bonaparte’s Gull 18
      California Gull lots
      Western Gull lots
      Sabine’s Gull 3
      Caspian Tern 2
      Common Tern 1
      Forster’s Tern 28
      Royal Tern 12
      Elegant Tern 29
      Pomarine Jaeger 17
      Parasitic Jaeger 8
      Jaeger sp. 3
      Xantus’s Murrelet 9
      Cassin’s Auklet 1
      Rhinoceros Auklet 11
      Mammals: California Sea Lion, Bottle-nosed Dolphin

      Day 2: spent in Oxnard harbor waiting out the weather

      Day 3: Oxnard harbor to the east tip of Anacapa then along the south
      side of the Channel Islands west to the midpoint of Santa Rosa Island
      then SW to the 1000+ fathom waters about 20 miles east of the San Juan
      Surf Scoter 115
      Red-throated Loon 3
      Pacific Loon 67
      Common Loon 3
      Black-footed Albatross 3
      Northern Fulmar 10
      Pink-footed Shearwater 61
      Sooty Shearwater 396
      Black-vented Shearwater 1
      Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel 1
      Brown Pelican thousands
      Brandt’s Cormorant thousands
      Double-crested Cormorant ~1k
      Pelagic Cormorant 36
      Peregrine Falcon 1
      Black Oystercatcher 2
      Red-necked Phalarope 21
      Bonaparte’s Gull 55
      Heermann’s Gull 1
      California Gull ~1k
      Western Gull thousands
      Black-legged Kittiwake 1
      Sabine’s Gull 16
      Elegant Tern 2
      Pomarine Jaeger 10
      Common Murre 7
      Pigeon Guillemot 26
      Xantus’s Murrelet 20
      Cassin’s Auklet 77
      Rhinoceros Auklet 28
      Some participants also saw 2 alternate plumaged Tufted Puffins fly by
      south of Anacapa Is.
      Mammals: California Sea Lion, Northern Elephant Seal, (offshore)
      Common Bottle-nosed Dolphin, Long-beaked Common Dolphin, Dall’s Porpoise

      Day 4: Cortez Banks to the Mushroom and Sixty-mile Bank
      Pacific Loon 1
      Common Loon 1
      Laysan Albatross 1
      Black-footed Albatross 9
      Northern Fulmar 70
      Pink-footed Shearwater 4
      Sooty Shearwater 72
      Leach’s Storm-Petrel 2
      Ashy Storm-Petrel 1
      Black Storm-Petre 103
      Red-billed Tropicbird 1
      Red-necked Phalarope 50
      California Gull 1
      Western Gull 130
      Sabine’s Gull 11
      Pomarine Jaeger 6
      Long-tailed Jaeger 1
      Xantus’s Murrelet 3
      Cassin’s Auklet 153
      Rhinoceras Auklet 12
      Mammals: California Sea Lion, Northern Right Whale Dolphin (~200 off
      the Mushroom)
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