Monterey Seabirds August 14, 2005 Seabird Cruise Trip Report
Sunday August 14, 2005
were making ticks before we even boarded the Pt. Sur Clipper. A scrappy
little ANCIENT MURRELET put on a display of its underwater
flying abilities right under the wharf. Once we were on board, our
skipper Richard Ternullo sidled the boat right up to this little guy
much to the delight of the photographers on board.
The other interesting summering bird in the harbor was easily found
in the company of a pair of Surf Scoters; a female HARLEQUIN DUCK
near the Coast Guard jetty.
We were on a mission today in search of the Short-tailed Albatross
reported on Friday. I told our two chummers Tanner Easterla and Big
Sur Ornithology Lab intern Brett Tryon that I wanted to see a flock
of gulls at the stern at all times and they did a brilliant job of
that. They did succeed in attracting 45 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS
but not the hoped for Short-tailed. Oh well.
arrivals in bay waters that weren't reported until today were numerous
BULLER'S SHEARWATERS and 20 XANTUS'S MURRELETS (all
scrippsii). We ended up with a four shearwater day when the
sharp eyes of Todd Easterla picked up a flyby MANX SHEARWATER
(rare on the west coast).
It seems the large flocks of SOOTY SHEARWATERS we're used to
seeing in the northern portion of the bay in Santa Cruz County have
all moved to the south bay off Cypress Point. Lots of PINK-FOOTS
around too. SABINE'S GULLS were also seen in good numbers.
Other birds of note were several COMMON TERNS we found floating
on pieces of kelp or driftwood that we were able to closely approach
and clinch the ID. We found a single NORTHERN FULMAR.
the alcid department we saw only a few CASSIN'S AUKLETS and
RHINOCEROS AUKLETS and found only one father-chick pair of
COMMON MURRES. These three species of seabirds suffered a widespread
nest failure in Northern California this year that is attributed to
an apparent disruption in the upwelling cycle that fuels the food
chain off our coastline.
Cetaceans did their best to upstage the seabirds. We saw 2 MINKE WHALES,
7 BLUES and 5 HUMPBACKS, with one breaching all the way out of the
water. We also encountered NORTHERN RIGHT WHALE, RISSO'S and PACIFIC
WHITE-SIDED DOLPHINS and a few DALL'S PORPOISE.
We were surprised to find a dozen NORTHERN FUR SEALS. We find these
now and then but a dozen is quite a showing.
Oddball sighting was of 2 MARBLED GODWITS that came in to check
out the chum at the back of the boat about 10 miles off Pt. Pinos.
Conspicuously absent were the skua clan of which we saw none.
Thanks go out to our fearless leaders: Don Roberson, Dan Singer, Todd
Easterla and Richard Ternullo and to our hardworking chummers Tanner
Easterla and Brett Tryon.
Also seen: RED-NECKED PHALAROPE