Monterey Seabirds
October 8, 2005 Seabird Cruise Trip Report

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Saturday October 8, 2005

The forecast looked bad. I received a few emails asking whether we were going to make it out or not. Looking at the National Weather Service's interactive map I saw the light purple color for a small craft advisory all the way from Ft. Bragg to the Monterey County line except for the one little white area that comprised the Monterey Bay. One thing was for sure: we would not be getting offshore today.

Before getting underway I was telling our group of 20 we would use the boat like a clock to point out birds while Don Roberson imitated a flight attendant putting a lot of panache into pointing out the directions of the clock. Wish I had that on tape!

Outside of the breakwater, moving off Cannery Row we picked up a couple of SURF SCOTERS and COMMON LOONS in flight and the usual PIGEON GUILLEMOTS and PELAGIC CORMORANTS, much to the delight of those from out of the area. From Pt. Pinos we headed north and skipper Richard Ternullo did a fine job of working the boat over a sizeable northwest swell as we crossed the mouth of the bay. The wind wasn't too bad at this point.

Of course wind doesn't deter shearwaters. We picked up SOOTIES, PINK-FOOTS and a couple of BULLER'S. Two different SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATERS flew right up to the stern as they often do. Eventually the chumming of PRBO interns Chad Witko and Paolo Lopez attracted some BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS.

A single SOUTH POLAR SKUA was seen attacking a gull, and we had brief visitations by both PARASITIC and POMARINE JAEGERS.

COMMON MURRES were dispersed throughout, as were RHINOCEROS AUKLETS. A single TUFTED PUFFIN flew past the stern.

We had several HUMPBACK WHALE sightings including a pair doing lateral lunge feeds very close to the boat. NORTHERN RIGHT WHALE DOLPHINS came in to ride the bow and some distant RISSO'S DOLPHINS were also spotted. The wind began to pick up and swing around to the west so we headed towards Moss Landing to keep it at our backs. En route we came upon a large shark carcass floating on the water. Although it was missing a head and tail Richard was able to identify it as a COW or SEVEN-GILLED SHARK. For a description of this shark see the Florida Museum of Natural History Sevengill Shark Profile.

The shark was likely a female based on its size. What was left of it easily weighed 200 pounds, so whatever had preyed on it must have been big. They are known to be predated on by Great Whites and each other or perhaps it fell prey to Killer Whales.

Approaching the harbor we passed by some racing catamarans, a few of which we saw flip over. A good day for sailing but not so good for seabirding.


Roger Wolfe for Monterey Seabirds

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Last updated April 26, 2006