Brief report May1 Santa Barbara Pelagic - Cook's and Murphy's
I just got home, and the world is still rocking, but I wanted to post a brief note about the Condor Express Pelagic. The forecast was rough, and reality matched the forecast. An outstanding game plan by Capt Matt allowed us to get to the deepwater,(1500 fathom) where we thought we might have some birds. Most of the birds were in closer around the 500 fathom line and the last of our 63 or so Cook's Petrels was between 100-200 fathoms just of San Miguel.
We also had brief but good looks for many at a Murphy's Petrel, and several other dark moderately distant petrels were left unidentified.
There were two Laysan Alabtrosses, a number of Black-footed Albatrosses, as well as a great phalarope show with thousands of Red-necked and many Reds swirling across the seas.
A full trip report will follow in a few days, but there are a couple of other chances to get offshore. My good friend Terry Hunefeld and the Buena Vista Audubon will be sponsoring a 56 hout double overnight trip on Grande out of San Diego May 15-17, and I will be helping Buena Vista lead this trip. Based on the number of Cook's we saw today as well as some Research Cruise reports, this could be a great chance to see Cook's. As always we won't know until we get out there. July 31 we will be back on The Condor Express. The weather is generally good in July, and this is a good trip for Cook's, Red-billed Tropicbird and who know what else? We had a Tristam's storm-petrel on this trip in 2007 and 138 Cook's in 2009 (we didn't run one in 2008).
The May 15-17 trip is the only trip that likely has another shot at Murphy's Petrel, as they are mostly April-June with a scattering of other dates. My experience is that they are often a bit north of this trips's route, but in good flight years I have seen them in several of the areas this trip is planning to visit. I'm sure Terry will have more interesting details about this trip, but you can go to Socalbirding.com for all the details on this and every other SoCal Pelagic.
My computer is still moving like I am at the Rodriquez Seamount, so it is off to bed. Another great SoCal trip, I can't wait for the 15th of May!