Sunday October 12, 2003
as we pull along the inside of the breakwater someone calls out NORTHERN
FULMAR. Lo and behold there is a fulmar paddling about inside
the jetty. We stop the boat so folks can get a photo. The bird paddles
alongside and at one point it looks as though it might climb up into
the scuppers and board the boat. Little do we know that this little
guy is a "harboringer" of things to come.
A check of the outer jetty yields only a few BLACK TURNSTONES.
Coasting along Cannery Row and we find a single basic plumaged PIGEON
GUILLEMOT and a few PELAGIC CORMORANTS but the bird that
gets our attention is a single RING-BILLED GULL. Not a rare
bird but very unusual here along the rocky seashore. Outside the harbor
we see that fog has enveloped Pt. Pinos and the city of Pacific Grove
so we opt to make a quick escape and head WNW. It's a beautiful morning
on the bay as long as we manage to avoid the thick marine layer. A
nice flock of PACIFIC LOONS goes by in the early morning light.
Our six shearwater day begins with PINK-FOOTED, but soon we
add SOOTY and get nice looks at a couple of SHORT-TAILED
SHEARWATERS flying by the stern just beyond the wake. Only 4 BULLER'S
SHEARWATERS are seen. We see multitudes of NORTHERN FULMARS
and our skipper, Richard, remarks it's as if someone has opened a
box of them overnight and into that box have gone the South Polar
Skuas which have disappeared. Up to the day before he'd been seeing
skuas but very few fulmars. We do see a dozen POMARINE JAEGERS
but only one distant PARASITIC.
Our first of 3 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS appears. RED PHALAROPES
now greatly outnumber the few RED-NECKEDS. When we come upon
an area with a lot of shearwater activity a great deal of excitement
ensues when a GREATER SHEARWATER is called over the FRS radios
and immediately on the PA. Everyone gathers at the spot but the bird
flies away into the distance. We spend a fair amount of time trying
to refind it without success. This is only the 6th record for this
Atlantic shearwater in the Monterey Bay.
We venture into the fog hoping to find some cetaceans reported the
previous day but see only a couple of very lost ELEGANT TERNS
offshore. As we break back out of the fog Richard spots a blow and
we manage to find what is initially puzzling. Turns out to be a male
KILLER WHALE with a flopped over dorsal fin. Soon we find he is in
the company of three others including a fairly young calf. These and
several groups of PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHINS are the only cetaceans
we'll see today.
in the day Don Roberson calls out TUFTED PUFFIN and we enjoy
some great looks at this bird right beside the boat. This stirs the
nappers on board but not as much as a FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER
that flies right in front of the wheelhouse windows and then to the
chumline where he is attacked by a HEERMAN'S GULL behaving
very much like a jaeger. The flesh-foot flies all around the boat
trying to shake the gull and everyone on board gets looks that couldn't
Thanks again to our fearless leaders Don Roberson and Dan Singer
as well as our great seabirding skipper Richard Ternullo.
Roger Wolfe for Monterey