Monterey Seabirds
February 8, 2004 Seabird Cruise Trip Report

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Sunday February 8, 2004

Harlequin Duck, photo by Jeff PoklenAfter a brief stop near Wharf #2 for some outstanding views of 2 drake HARLEQUIN DUCKS our Feb.8 Monterey Seabirds trips headed south. This was atypical of our usual route around the bay and sea canyon.

Our skipper, Richard Ternullo, is in constant contact with other boats in the area. Skippers share information with one another (and occasionally some good jokes) over the radio in regard to marine mammals and fishing.

The rockfishing fleet reported bird activity in the area of Bixby Creek Bridge and shortly after that we got another report of 7 Killer Whales in the area. We headed in that direction and en route came upon a couple of amorous GRAY WHALES. The whales stopped mating and resumed their migration as we approached much to the disappointment of the voyeurs on board.

We were lucky enough to come across a pod of DALL'S PORPOISES. The fastest of all cetaceans, these porpoises are declining rapidly. Japanese fisheries take about 30,000 of these animals annually.

Heading south from Pt. Pinos we came upon our only SOOTY SHEARWATER and further south past the galleries at Pebble Beach we had our first of 3 PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS for the day. We worked our way down the coast past Carmel Bay and Point Lobos without seeing much but as we approached Bixby Creek we began to see a great deal of bird activity. Working along the 50-fathom line there were BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES in view at all times, many of them being harrassed by the larger gulls. Richard remarked that he'd never seen so many this early in the year. RHINOCEROS AUKLETS and NORTHERN FULMARS were also abundant in this area.

Unfortunately we never did find the Killer Whales.

Richard pointed out an uncooperative SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER and a single CASSIN'S AUKLET flying away from the boat. In this area we also saw one of 3 POMARINE JAEGERS on the day. We continued to work along the 50-fathom line all the way down to Pt. Sur. It was a real treat for some of us locals to view this lovely stretch of coastline from the sea for a change.

But now we had to pay our dues and fight a headwind all the back to the bay. It was a rough ride and even Richard was complaining about the wind, I heard him say over the radio to the rock fisherman, "I can't believe you guys do this every #@!^& day!" He got little sympathy in return.

We did manage to find 6 ANCIENT MURRELETS in two different groups near Carmel Bay.

Special thanks go out to our core group of regulars. Thanks for your support!


Species seen:

Pacific Loon
Common Loon
Red-throated Loon
Horned Grebe
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Northern Fulmar
Sooty Shearwater
Short-tailed Shearwater
Pomarine Jaeger
Brown Pelican
Brandt's Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Harlequin Duck
Heermann's Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Mew Gull
Black-legged Kittiwake
Common Murre
Pigeon Guillemot
Rhinoceros Auklet
Cassin's Auklet
Black Turnstone
Ruddy Turnstone
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Great Blue Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron

Gray Whale
Dall's Porpoise
Harbor Seal
California Sea Lion
California Sea Otter


Roger Wolfe for Monterey Seabirds

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Monterey Bay Whale Watch
84 Fisherman's Wharf
Monterey, CA 93940
Phone 831-375-4658
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Photo copyright © 2004 Jeff Poklen, all rights reserved.

Last updated February 14, 2004