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NEW! June 12th Deepwater Santa Barbara Pelagic

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  • toddamcgrath
    Birders: The Cook s Petrels have returned again this year to the waters off Santa Barbara, and reports from research vessels and others indicate they are
    Message 1 of 1 , May 9, 2010

      The Cook's Petrels have returned again this year to the waters off Santa Barbara, and reports from research vessels and others indicate they are present up and down the CA coast. Last year, after seeing a few in early May, numbers along the CA coast peaked in late-July and early August, with hundreds being seen off Santa Barbara in July, and also from various points north (including many in Monterey Bay),on the legendary Shearwater Journeys Pelagics from Northern California.

      This year they showed up off SoCal in numbers in May with hundreds reported from research ships, and 65 from a very rough May 1 Pelagic from Santa Barbara on the Condor Express. I have no doubt that we would have seen many more with better weather. This trip also recorded Murphy's Petrel, and again based on research ship and other reports, it seems that Murphy's are present in some numbers this Spring.

      The good folks of the Condor Express have agreed to add a birding trip Saturday June 12th, to give us an additional opportunity to get out in the deepwater. Who know how long the Cook's will last, but I know they will not be present in these numbers every year. We are adding this trip to give as many folks as possible a chance to share in this rare opprtunity.

      This is also the tail end of the normal window for Murphy's Petrel, and an excellent time of year to look for other rarities like Hawaiian Petrel, Parakeet Auklet (also reported offshore this year, as well as a sighting from Piedras Blancas Lighthouse a day or so ago). This is a great time for other species such as Black-footed Albatross, and Laysan Albatrosses from the breeding colonies in Mexico often wander north to SoCal waters in the late spring and early summer.

      The regular species like Black and Ashy storm-petrel, Xantus's Murrelets, as well as Cassin's Auklets, and various shearwater species should give us plenty to look at while we search for rarities.

      These deepwater trips on the Condor Express (a big,fast,and comfortable catamaran) cover 250+ miles in 13-14 hours, and are the only single day trips that can take you to the edge of the Continental Shelf and beyond.
      They have posted excellent results including such rarities as Murphy's Cook's and Hawaiian Petrels, Parakeet Auklets, Horned and Tufted Puffins, Tristam's Storm-petrel, as well as all the expected species.

      The Condor Express will be staffed with the usual assortment of excellent leaders, and leader Wes Fritz will be on hand to bring those petrels to the boat, as he did on May 1.

      I hope you can join us for what is sure to be a fun trip offshore. While there are never any guarantees, I think the chances of seeing Cook's Petrels are quite good, given the numbers present up and down the coast.

      The cost of the trip is $195. Call the SeaLanding at 888-77WHALE to sign up. Please don't wait to make your reservation. June is a very busy time for the boat, and we need to get the trip subscribed in short order to be able to run it.

      Please e-mail me with any questions and I hope to see you onboard.

      Todd McGrath
      Calabasas CA
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