Sunday September 19, 2004
A few raindrops fell lightly on my windshield as I parked my
truck next to the marina. Stepping out I was greeted by a spectacular
rainbow over Monterey. Our group of 30 seabirders and 5 spotters pulled
on our foul weather gear which we rarely if ever need in the month
of September. Initially it looked like it might be miserable but within
an hour and a half the rain gave way to clear skies and the day turned
out to be a fine one both in terms of weather and seabirds.
The BRANDT'S CORMORANTS on the Coast Guard jetty have finally
finished up with nesting and will now allow the numerous CALIFORNIA
SEA LIONS access to the rocks. Hard to believe these birds are tenacious
enough to keep the much larger sea lions off the rocks for several
months in their quest to rear young. Here we also find a couple of
BLACK TURNSTONES. Just beyond the breakwater we find our first
of many RED-NECKED PHALAROPES and COMMON MURRES.
And then we're off in our search to find the flock of storm-petrels
which seem to have abandoned their historic roosting sight and are
on the move. Many on board have expressed interest in finding these
birds and as always we are happy to take requests.
Of course we will not ignore the NORTHERN FULMAR we find on
the water or the SOOTY, PINK-FOOTED and BULLER'S
SHEARWATERS we find enroute. One of two SOUTH POLAR SKUAS
makes a brief appearance as well as a few POMARINE JAEGERS.
Tanner Easterla is at the stern doing a great job of chumming and
we have a constant flock of WESTERN, CALIFORNIA and
HEERMANN'S GULLS in tow but we never do manage to attract any
We do find some nice pods of dolphins and close looks at PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED,
RISSO'S and NORTHERN RIGHT WHALE DOLPHINS as well as several HUMPBACK
WHALES. A single NORTHERN FUR SEAL rounds out our marine mammal sightings
for the day.
Here and there we find some RHINOCEROS AUKLETS and a single
SABINE'S GULL flies by the bow.
After we are well into Santa Cruz county waters we are looking in
the area that the storm-petrels have been frequenting this summer
and finally begin seeing an ASHY STORM-PETREL now and then.
Finally just SW of Davenport we come upon a mixed flock on the water
and we begin calling out WILSON'S (1), BLACK (30), LEAST
(5) and a lot more ASHIES (1500). We get some reasonable looks
and when they disperse we lay a slick which attracts them back and
we spend a good deal of time with them trying to make sure all on
board get to see what they're seeking. (Those darn Leasts could be
Finally we are time-pressed to begin heading back. Just after passing
by Pt. Pinos we pick up a few PIGEON GUILLEMOTS and PELAGIC
CORMORANTS to make the day complete.
Special thanks go out to our spotters Don Roberson, Dan Singer, Les
Chibana, Roger Wolfe and Todd Easterla and to the star of our show,
skipper Richard Ternullo.
Roger Wolfe for Monterey