Pelagics On Tap: Grande, Searcher, Condor Express
- Out on the Pacific Ocean, under the sun, riding the swells with the
clean fresh breeze on your face, days blur into a soft dream. Time
slows, even stands still, as you become more and more disconnected
from the hustle and bustle of the "real" world. No cell phones. No
computers. No traffic. Nothing but sunshine, whales, birds, people
who love birds and birding. THIS, is the real world.... the ultimate
adventure. That "other" world, the one you left behind is.... so...
It's that time again. We're coming into the tropicbird, petrel and
Craveri's Murrelet season here in SoCal, when the weather is warm and
the seas are flat. The sold-out SoCalBirding Deep Water Overnight
Pelagic sails from San Diego Saturday evening on Grande. If you're
registered, please click the following link and scroll down to "The
Trip" for final preparation tips. If you have any questions about
the trip, please telephone Point Loma Sportfishing at 619-223-1627
between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Grande Trip Preparation: http://tinyurl.com/5znbg9
The next opportunity for pelagic birding in SoCal is on the live-
aboard Searcher, departing Labor Day. As so many pelagic birders have
found, the first week of September is an incredible month to be at
Searcher is a spacious, luxurious 95-foot live-aboard with multiple
birding observation decks. Trips are limited to 28 passengers and 4
leaders to ensure plenty of room. Guests enjoy 4 clean bathrooms, 2
hot showers and 14 air-conditioned cabins. Delicious meals, snacks
and beverages are included.
This year's Searcher trip is led by a trio of world famous seabirding
connoisseurs: Todd "Skua" McGrath (Marina del Rey); Paul "Life is
too short to drink bad beer" Guris (an east coast boy) and Dr.
Jon "Birdly Goodness" Feenstra (New Jersey). Also on board will be
the L.A. Audubon's champion "Tristiam's-Hauling chummer, Mr. Wesley
Fritz, (the Flammulated Owl man of Ventura County).
The first day we'll cruise north through from San Diego to the
Channel Islands where we found two Red-billed Tropicbirds on the 2006
Searcher voyage, the first just 9 miles off the coast of La Jolla!
We'll spend the second day checking out the Channel Islands where
rarities show up with some regularity. The cold water around the
channel islands is rich in marine life, so whales, dolphins and
seabirds are present in large numbers. We'll encounter thousands of
Pink-footed Shearwaters plus hundreds of Sooty and Black-vented
Shearwaters and perhaps several rarer species of shearwater as
well. Of course, all that rich marine life brings birds of prey, and
we'll likely see South Polar Skua plus Pomarine, Parasitic and Long-
tailed Jaegers on these days (The "Skua Slam").
After departing the Channel Islands we'll make our way west and south
to the edge of the Continental Shelf and follow it south. A Streaked
Shearwater was seen near Santa Cruz Island on September 7, 2002
between Santa Barbara and the San Juan Seamount. All aboard Searcher
had killer views of a Hawaiian Petrel on September 6, 2006. A Red-
TAILED Tropicbird was seen from Searcher in September, 2003. A
Bulwer's Petrel was seen September 4, 2003 off San Clemente Island.
The only North American record of Ringed (Hornby's) Storm-Petrel was
well photographed on 2 Aug 2005 about 40 km ssw of Santa Rosa
What else? Well, the first California Short-tailed Albatross of the
20th Century was seen in these waters 90 miles west of San Diego on
28 Aug 1977. Records of Cook's Petrel in SoCal peak in August.
Craveri's Murrelet are often seen on September Searcher voyages.
There are only 5 more berths available on the September 1-5 Searcher
voyage. The September trip always sells out. For more information,
please telephone Celia Condit at (619) 226-2403 or visit Searcher's
website at http://www.bajawhale.com/birdingtrips.asp
THE CONDOR EXPRESS
If you can't take a week for Searcher, The September 6 Los Angeles
Audubon Society deep-water pelagic trip heading out of Santa Barbara
on the Condor Express is the place to be.
The late fall/early summer is one of the best times year off Southern
California for encounters with large numbers of birds and a high
diversity. Species that have been seen out there in the past several
years have included: Cook's Petrel (2005), Hawaiian Petrel (2006),
Streaked Shearwater (2002), Buller's Shearwater (annual), Wilson's
Storm-Petrel (2003), Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel (2003), Least Storm-
Petrel, Red-billed Tropicbird, Long-tailed Jaeger (annual), Craveri's
Murrelet, hypoleucus Xantus's Murrelet.
Our plan is to depart Santa Barbara harbor, travel across the Santa
Barbara Channel and south past Santa Rosa and San Miguel Islands. The
ocean floor in the area south of Santa Rosa Island and east of the
San Juan Seamount varies in depth from about 1000 feet to over 10000
feet. This region has always been hot on past trips having hosted
such stellar rarities as last summer's Tristram's Storm-Petrel and
spring's Parakeet Auklets. The fast Condor Express is the only way
to get to these places in a single day.
Details about registration can be found on the Los Angeles Audubon
THE FUTURE OF SOCALBIRDING.COM
SoCalBirding was started early this year to facilitate more pelagic
trips in the Southern California Bight. We're off to a good start.
To ensure the longevity of this informational service, the Buena
Vista Audubon Society has generously agreed to take over the
operation including chartering and promotion of SoCalBirding. A new
website is now being built that will contain listings of all pelagic
trips from San Diego to Santa Barbara. It's our goal to work with
the Audubon Societies of SoCal to coordinate a rich variety pelagic
trips in 2009 that compliment each other.
W. Terry Hunefeld
Life is short.
Pelagic Seabirding Trips From San Diego to:
Los Coronados Islands
Cortes & Tanner Banks
4 lovely rooms from $130
At Moonlight Beach, Leucadia
Encinitas, North County San Diego