Sunday July 13, 2003
conditions prevailed for the morning of our July 13 seabirding trip.
In fact we heard our first Humpback Whale before we saw it! A marine
layer like this is not uncommon on the Monterey Bay particularly in
the summer months. Usually it clears up in the afternoon or at least
dissipates enough to be conducive for seabirding and whale watching.
Just past Pt. Pinos near the bell buoy we had distant views of a TUFTED
PUFFIN flying away from the boat. We attempted to refind it but
never saw it land. Our vessel, the Sea Wolf II, headed out 16 miles
west of Pt. Pinos. In the deep waters over the sea canyon we came
upon a longlining fishing boat hauling in its catch with 20 BLACK-FOOTED
ALBATROSS feeding upon the bycatch of Pacific Hake. These black
fish had their swim bladders inflated like a balloon out of their
mouths and bulging eyes as a result of being pulled up quickly from
a great depth. Bad decompression!
The albatrosses' attraction to longliners can be a hazardous one.
For more information on this issue and to express your concern go
I also recommend the book Eye of the Albatross by Carl
Safina for an excellent overview of this dilemma. It is a wonderfully
written book about seabirds and other fauna of the Pacific.
A Blue Whale appeared out of the fog fairly close to the boat, thrilling
all on board. At different points we had both Pacific White-sided
and Northern Right Whale Dolphins riding the bow.
Among the many SOOTY SHEARWATERS we came upon only 2 PINK-FOOTED
SHEARWATERS for the day. Heading east into Santa Cruz county waters
the sun broke out as the fog dissipated, making for a spectacular
day on the Monterey Bay. We came upon some XANTUS'S MURRELETS
(3) thanks to some good spotting on the bow from local birder Tim
Amaral and John Covenely, a visiting birder from Ireland. Unfortunately
these birds had no interest in sticking around and we had to be content
with views of them flying away. CASSIN'S AUKLETS were back
in force with large numbers of them in the vicinity of Soquel Canyon
Other alcids were COMMON MURRE, including several father and
chick pairs, a few RHINOCEROS AUKLETS and PIGEON GUILLEMOTS.
Special thanks to our leaders Don Roberson, Dan Singer and Stephen
F. Bailey and our skipper Richard Ternullo. On our next trip several
of our regulars will be able to take advantage of our take
3 trips and the 4th is free policy in 2003.
Trip list for July 13, 2003
Pacific White-sided Dolphin
Northern Elephant Seal
California Sea Lion
Pacific Sea Otter
Roger Wolfe for Monterey