Sunday March 14, 2004
for our March 14th trip could not have been better. The previous week
had seen record-breaking temperatures up and down the Northern California
coast. Seas were Beaufort 2, water temperature 55 and the high for
the day was in the mid 70's onshore. Late winter and early spring
can often have more favorable conditions than late spring and summer
when the fog can be unrelenting.
Just out of the harbor we cruised along the breakwater, finding several
BLACK TURNSTONES and 1 RUDDY TURNSTONE.
Off Wharf #2 we found our first PIGEON GUILLEMOT. There were
several COMMON LOONS and PELAGIC CORMORANTS about. The
breakwater was crowded with BRANDT'S CORMORANTS, some of them
displaying and carrying nesting material. I'm always amazed that these
birds are tenacious enough to drive the CALIFORNIA SEA LIONS off the
breakwater and onto a floating dock beside it.
Along Cannery Row we found some PACIFIC LOONS and had nice
comparative looks at CLARK'S and WESTERN GREBES. We
headed over to Cypress Point and Carmel Canyon.
Arriving on the southern edge of the Monterey Canyon we found our
first of 4 PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS. We visited a boat that
was longlining in this vicinity and here we had quite a concentration
of BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS (9) feeding on the bycatch. We could
actually hear one of the albatross right next to the boat vocalizing
as it battled the gulls and fulmars for its meal. Yes, NORTHERN
FULMARS were still present in good numbers as were BLACK-LEGGED
We enjoyed some good seabirding in the vicinity of Soquel Canyon.
Shearwater species have been in short supply this winter so it was
nice to see 2 SOOTY SHEARWATERS in addition to a single SHORT-TAILED
SHEARWATER that paddled right up to the stern as if demanding
anchovies. Sitting on the water, he stuck close to the boat while
we went over the finer points of separating sooty from short-tailed.
Lots of camera activity on this bird.
At some point our chummer Jonathan Carpenter came up to me to report
he was feeling queasy like he was going to be sick, as he was on our
last outing. Experiment number two was underway. Out of my backpack
I procured a Relief Band. I recently purchased two of these in hopes
I might be able do something to allay the effects of seasickness on
our participants. I strapped one on his wrist, turned on the electric
pulse and set off the stopwatch on my watch. Within 12 minutes Jonathan
reported that he felt much better, no longer queasy. He kept it on
for the rest of the trip and felt fine. If you're interested in the
band, check out the AVWeb
article about the Relief Band.
Other birds of interest were quite a few offshore; migrating FORSTER'S
TERNS and a single RED-THROATED LOON circled the boat quite
a ways out. We also saw 1 RED and 2 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES
and 1 POMARINE JAEGER. Alcid numbers were up from last month
on COMMON MURRES and RHINOCEROS AUKLETS but only one
Marine Mammals included 10 northward-bound GRAY WHALES and a pod of
LONG-BEAKED COMMON DOLPHINS.
Nothing too out of the ordinary for local seabirders but the guy from
Florida out here for his first time tallied 17 lifers!
Long-beaked Common Dolphin
California Sea Lion
California Sea Otter
Roger Wolfe for Monterey