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Pelagic Trip Report – SoCalBirding’s Maiden Double-Header Weekend

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  • Terry Hunefeld
    Greetings More than 70 seabirders spent a fun-filled weekend offshore San Diego on May 10 and 11 on Grande, an 85 foot live-aboard boat. This is their story.
    Message 1 of 1 , May 13, 2008
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      More than 70 seabirders spent a fun-filled weekend offshore San Diego
      on May 10 and 11 on Grande, an 85 foot live-aboard boat. This is
      their story. A complete trip list follows this account.

      Photos at http://tinyurl.com/5jee9b

      The first trip of our weekend "double-header" pulled out of Point
      Loma Sportfishing marina at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday. Our
      destinations: the 9-Mile Bank and the Coronados Islands.

      We were seeing Sooty Shearwaters before 8:00 a.m. and Black Storm-
      petrels by 8:30. Our first Pink-footed Shearwater was seen at 8:49,
      followed shortly by 4 Xantus Murrelets. The rest of the morning was
      filled with fulmars, murrelets, auklets, jaegers, shearwaters,
      phalaropes, loons, terns, and, in Mexican waters, a BLACK-FOOTED

      We pulled into the marina at 3:30 p.m. to drop off some of our
      passengers and pick up a few more. Many of us enjoyed fresh, hot
      delicious seafood dinners at the outdoor picnic tables of Point Loma
      Seafoods while the crew cleaned the boat before heading out on
      the "double-overnighter" portion of our double-header at 4:30 p.m.

      As we approached the 9-mile bank for the second time, we were
      surprised to find an ANCIENT MURRELET and, a few minutes later, an
      early, close-to-shore (about ten miles west of Point Loma) SOUTH
      POLAR SKUA. We arrived at the 9-mile Bank in the early evening,
      surrounded by dozens of Sooty Shearwaters and clouds of HUNDREDS of
      BLACK STORM-PETRELS. We stayed on the 9-mile until dark and were
      treated to the grand prize of the evening: a San Diego County BLACK-
      FOOTED ALBATROSS. 3 Sabine's Gulls flew by at sunset, and, just
      before dark we were treated to another SOUTH POLAR SKUA before
      heading to our bunks after a VERY full day at sea.

      We awoke Sunday morning near the Tanner Bank (about 100 miles west of
      Point Loma) to find Yellow, Townsend's and Wilson's Warblers about
      the boat along with cowbirds and doves.

      We spent all Sunday in deep-water, finding rich diversity, including
      Greater Yellowlegs, PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER, 4 Townsend's Warblers, 25
      NORTHERN FULMAR, 2 Mourning Doves, 2 LAYSAN ALBATROSSES, a Common
      Yellowthroat, 2 ARCTIC TERNS, an Orange-crowned Warbler, 2 Fin
      Whales, 4 Wilson's Warblers, a rare Cubier Whale, Xantus's Murrelets
      and a Bullock's Oriole.

      More Sabine's Gulls flew by at sunset. We enjoyed a great dinner
      (and beers) in Grande's spacious salon, then were treated to dozens
      (hundreds by morning) of Red Phalaropes attracted to Grande's lights
      before heading to our bunks. We awoke at 4:30 a.m. Monday morning
      to the beautiful lights of Point Loma, arriving at the dock at 5:00.

      There really is nothing like being at sea overnight. You get to
      witness sunrise and sunset `out there' where it's all happening. No
      email, no TV, no computers, no cell phones, no traffic. Just you, a
      couple dozen other Seabirders, and the sea. It's magical.

      The July Grande "double-overnighter" trip is sold out. The next
      Grande trip is scheduled for Aug 26-27.

      The next and best opportunity to get out there into SoCal waters is
      on the June Searcher trip on June 2-6. We'll travel up to the very
      birdy Channel Islands, then out to deep water where we'll almost
      certainly see more Red-billed Tropicbirds and have our sights set on
      Cook's Petrel. This trip will sail where few birding trips (except
      research ships) have gone before. No birding expeditions have gone
      out this far out and south in June in decades. Last year in June and
      July, dozens of Cook's Petrels were seen by Searcher while on fishing
      trips off the coast of San Diego and Baja. Other expected species on
      the June trip include Black-footed Albatross and Flesh-footed
      Shearwater - Searcher specialties.

      And now, the lists. A big thank you to Jon Feenstra for compiling
      and entering into eBird.

      San Diego to Nine Mile Bank to the islands and our return
      Saturday morning 5/10/08

      Pacific Loon 3
      Black-footed Albatross 1
      Northern Fulmar 3
      Pink-footed Shearwater 7
      Sooty Shearwater 75
      Black Storm-Petrel 2
      Brown Booby 1
      Brown Pelican 100
      Brandt's Cormorant 10
      Double-crested Cormorant 2
      Red-necked Phalarope 250
      Red Phalarope 2
      Western Gull 60
      Least Tern 28
      Pomarine Jaeger 1
      Xantus's Murrelet 24
      Cassin's Auklet 65
      Rhinoceros Auklet 1
      Orange-crowned Warbler 1

      * * *
      Islas Los Coronados
      Saturday Morning 5/10/08

      Brown Booby 18
      Brown Pelican 800
      Brandt's Cormorant 100
      Double-crested Cormorant 10
      Pelagic Cormorant 2
      American x Black Oystercatcher (hybrid) 2
      Black Oystercatcher 5
      Wandering Tattler 1
      Western Gull 500
      House Finch 1

      * * *

      San Diego to the Nine Mile Bank – all San Diego County
      Saturday afternoon 5/10/08

      Brant 1
      Pacific Loon 3
      Black-footed Albatross 1
      Northern Fulmar 2
      Pink-footed Shearwater 7
      Sooty Shearwater 105
      Black-vented Shearwater 2
      Leach's Storm-Petrel 2
      Black Storm-Petrel 430
      Red-necked Phalarope 140
      Red Phalarope 5
      California Gull 1
      Western Gull 95
      Sabine's Gull 4
      Forster's Tern 3
      Elegant Tern 2
      South Polar Skua 2
      Pomarine Jaeger 3
      Xantus's Murrelet 5
      Ancient Murrelet 1
      Cassin's Auklet 18
      Rhinoceros Auklet 1
      Barn Swallow 1

      * * *

      Tanner & Cortez Bank
      Deep Water Sunday 5/11/08
      Los Angeles (LA) and Ventura (V) Counties.

      Laysan Albatross 2 (LA) (V)
      Black-footed Albatross 6 (LA) (V)
      Northern Fulmar 25 (LA) (V)
      Pink-footed Shearwater 80 (LA) (V)
      Flesh-footed Shearwater 1 (LA)
      Sooty Shearwater 12 (LA) (V)
      Black-vented Shearwater 1 (LA)
      Leach's Storm-Petrel 1 (LA)
      Black Storm-Petrel 65 (LA) (V)
      Red-billed Tropicbird 1 (V)
      Brandt's Cormorant 1
      Greater Yellowlegs 1
      Red-necked Phalarope 115 (LA) (V)
      Red Phalarope 135 (LA) (V)
      California Gull 2
      Western Gull 100
      Sabine's Gull 17 (LA) (V)
      Arctic Tern 2 (LA)
      South Polar Skua 1 (LA)
      Pomarine Jaeger 1 (LA)
      Xantus's Murrelet 18 (LA) (V)
      Cassin's Auklet 14
      Rhinoceros Auklet 1
      Eurasian Collared-Dove 1
      Mourning Dove 2
      Lesser Nighthawk 1
      Orange-crowned Warbler 1
      Yellow Warbler 3
      Townsend's Warbler 4
      Common Yellowthroat 1
      Wilson's Warbler 4
      Western Tanager 1
      Brown-headed Cowbird 4
      Bullock's Oriole 1

      W. Terry Hunefeld
      Life is short.
      Bird often.

      Pelagic Seabirding Trips From San Diego to:
      9-mile Bank
      Los Coronados Islands
      Cortes & Tanner Banks
      Channel Islands

      SeaBreeze Inn Bed and Breakfast
      Lovely rooms with ocean views
      and soft sea breezes from $90
      Across Hwy 101 from Moonlight Beach
      Encinitas, North County San Diego
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