Monterey Seabirds
September 18, 2005 Offshore Cruise Trip Report

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Sunday September 18, 2005 Offshore Trip

The forecast for northwest winds was not favorable for getting offshore. Skipper Richard Ternullo decided to give it a shot and we got underway while it was still dark. Over the radio we contacted the albacore fishermen heading the same way. The Kahuna out of Moss Landing was seven miles ahead of us and initially gave the report that it looked like the weather "was laying down nicely."

When it was light enough to see we began chumming and looking for seabirds. We came upon a loose aggregation of several HUMPBACK WHALES and while we were observing them our first BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS appeared at the back of the boat to check out the chum. Of course we already had seen many SOOTY and PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS.

We reached an area 25 miles offshore, about half as far as we needed to go to find the area where the water temperature breaks, when we got word from the Kahuna that the weather was taking a turn for the worse with increasing wind.

That was all we needed to hear so we turned back for the bay and the calmer waters of the north end in the lee of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

We knew we would be able to find storm-petrels in this area and if we were really lucky we might be able to relocate the Hawaiian Petrel seen the day before.

Black Storm Petrel, photo by Jeff PoklenSouth Polar Skua, photo by Jeff Poklen

Off of Davenport we found both BLACK and ASHY STORM-PETRELS along with a few LEASTS as well. SOUTH POLAR SKUAS put in appearances along with a couple of POMARINE JAEGERS.

Both PACIFIC-WHITE SIDED and NORTHERN RIGHT WHALE DOLPHINS came in to ride the bow and a NORTHERN FUR SEAL was seen napping at the surface.

While I was at the bow pointing out the differences between Black and Ashy Storm-petrels Todd Easterla at the stern spotted a SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER and a flyby NORTHERN FULMAR.

Lately alcids have seemed scarce. I asked Richard about this and he said they were all in Soquel Canyon so we decided to check it out on our way back to the harbor. Man, was he right as we came upon dense rafts of hundreds of COMMON MURRES along with a smattering of RHINOCEROS AUKLETS. Lots of shearwaters on the water with some BULLER'S SHEARWATERS included.

We sifted through thousands of shearwaters but failed to turn up anything new. Off of the beach we picked up some ELEGANT TERNS and PELAGIC CORMORANTS before reaching the harbor at 1:30 pm.

Since the trip had been abbreviated by four hours, all of our patrons were charged for an eight hour trip only.

Also seen:
Brown Pelican
Brandt's Cormorant
Heermann's Gull
Western Gull
California Gull
Red-necked Phalarope

California Sea Lion


Roger Wolfe for Monterey Seabirds

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Photos copyright © 2005 Jeff Poklen, all rights reserved.

Last updated September 28, 2005