Sunday May 12, 2003
Our Mother's Day seabird trip was downsized. A small number of participants
(14) resulted in us taking out the ol' Point Sur Clipper instead of
the larger Sea Wolf II. Admittedly we've grown spoiled with the larger,
more spacious boat. You'd think some of us would wax nostalgic in
going out on the Clipper, which is the boat many of us pelagiphiles
cut our teeth on but I did hear some moaning. It was preferable by
far to not going out at all (although I think my mom would have preferred
had entertained some serious fantasy seabirds in that we'd had a few
days of good onshore winds after a long period of having none at all.
Our skipper Richard Ternullo's sighting of a Dark-rumped (presumably
Hawaiian) Petrel the week before added fuel to the fire of my hopes
of finding some outrageous pelagic vagrant but alas such was not the
case. But hey, you got to keep at it to see the truly good pelagic
birds, right? (See Don
Roberson's website for more about the Dark-rumped Petrel, including
a comparison of the Hawaiian Petrel and the Galapagos Petrel.) Note:
subsequent review by Steve N.G. Howell identified this bird as a STEJNEGER'S
PETREL. See page 209 of Petrels,
Albatrosses and Storm-Petrels of North America: A Photographic Guide.
This record was not accepted by the CBRC.
It has been really interesting seabirding on a monthly basis and witnessing
the changes. I've always been big on patch birding and the Monterey
sea canyon is one helluva patch to work.
Big Sur Ornithology Lab interns Robin Hunnewell and Jessica Griffiths
showed up as volunteer chummers they said they were hoping to see
an albatross and they weren't disappointed as we had 80 BLACK-FOOTED
ALBATROSS for the day with as many as 15 at the stern at one time.
SOOTY SHEARWATERS numbers were way up from last month's trip
with birds visible almost continuously during our trip. PINK-FOOTED
SHEARWATERS were also numerous (80) with many showing signs of
4 NORTHERN FULMARS and 5 RHINOCEROS AUKLETS were spring
holdouts. Migrant gulls and terns were sparse with only a few BONAPARTE'S
and a single SABINE'S GULL. I have this theory that if there
is a Brit on board and a Sabine's Gull in the vicinity that they will
find it. Such was the case this time.
We had several flocks of RED-NECKED PHALAROPES including a
particularly large one at an area of convergent water but only a smattering
of beautiful alternate plumaged RED PHALAROPES.
HUMPBACK WHALES have returned and they were seen feeding off
of Ft. Ord. Our only other cetacean being widely scattered PACIFIC
It was a good group on board. Special thanks to our regulars for their
support and our leaders Don Roberson and Dan Singer.
Roger Wolfe for Monterey