Sunday - May 16, 2004 - The Mendocino Coast Audubon Chapter once again ventured out of the Noyo Harbor at Fort Bragg to look for bird and mammal life off shore. Relatively clear skies and medium seas resulted in a rather pleasant day of bird and whale watching. A few northward bound flocks of Pacific Loons were migrating north totalling about 100 birds. * Common Loons were seen. No Laysan Albatross showed, but about 25 Black-footed Albatross showed around the boat. 5 Northern Fulmars, 12 Pink-footed Shearwaters, and an impressive 2500 Sooty Shearwaters graced the waters.
All three cormorants were observed... 12 Brandt's, 6 double-crested, and 25 Pelagics. 75 Red-necked Phalaropes were in scattered flocks heading north, but no Red Phalaropes were seen. Only 1 jaeger, a Pomarine, was observed. Gulls included 15 California Gulls (nearshore), 300+ Western Gulls, 2 Glaucous-winged Gulls, 8 Sabine's Gulls, 1 Ring-billed Gull, and an unusual Franklin's Gull were out there. The Franklin's Gull was approached by the boat for grand looks of the bird... and was a Mendocino County first for many of the participants. 2 Common Terns and 7 Arctic Terns flew by.
50 Common Murres, 40 Pigeon Guillemots, 3 Cassin's Auklets, and 10 Rhinoceros Auklets made up the alcid list.
Also seen near the harbor were 5 Osprey, 1 Mallard, a Great-Blue Heron, 2 Turkey vultures,and an occasional Common Raven.
Mammals included a couple California Sea Lion, 20 Northern fur Seals, 6 to 8 Gray whales, and 4 Pacific White-sided Dolphins.
Once again the Trek II was skippered by Rick Thornton who always does an admirable job. The water temps ranged from 50 - 52 degrees F. The route crossed the Noyo Canyon and ventured 18 miles offshore.
Thanks to all the organizers and leaders and participants .... a good time was had by (almost) all.
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