August Overnight Deepwater Pelagic
- There will be a double-overnight pelagic trip to deep water aboard "The Grande" out of San Diego from 7AM on Monday, August 16, to 7AM on Wednesday, August 18. The trip will visit inshore San Diego County waters on Monday morning, then continue out to deeper San Clemente Basin waters (Los Angeles County) later that day, and finally to truly deep water (also "in" Los Angeles County) on Tuesday well to the southwest of San Diego, where U.S. territorial / ABA Area waters extend well to the south. The cost of the trip is $285 (before July 30), $315 (after July 30). TO ENSURE THAT THE TRIP HAS ENOUGH PARTICIPANTS PLEASE REGISTER FOR THE TRIP BY JULY 29.
Mid-August is a great time of year for Cook's Petrels well offshore, and it is near-peak for Red-billed Tropicbirds. The latter is almost "guaranteed" (as much as any uncommon pelagic species can be). Laysan Albatrosses (likely from the breeding population on Guadalupe Island to the south) are seen regularly in these waters. This is also an excellent time of year and an excellent area for Least Storm-Petrel, Craveri's Murrelet, and the hypoleucus subspecies of Xantus's Murrelet (a possible taxonomic split). Speaking of possible taxonomic splits, this will also be an excellent trip for studying several different forms of Leach's Storm-Petrel, including the distinct form(s) which nest on Guadalupe Island. South Polar Skua is quite possible, and we should see such returning northern migrants as Sabine's Gull, Arctic Tern, and Long-tailed Jaeger. Inshore species should include Black-vented Shearwater and Black Storm-Petrel. Ashy Storm-Petrel is a possibility. And anytime we venture far offshore, who knows what rarity lurks just behind the next (small) swell: August is the peak month for Hawaiian Petrel (although most records are from farther to the north), and birding in these southernmost ABA Area Pacific waters in late summer is perhaps one's best chance for finding additional Mexican and sub-tropical species.
For further information, see: www.socalbirding.com/trips
--Paul Lehman, San Diego