Sunday October 8, 2006
I had high hopes for this one. With very capable and experienced leaders
as well as my birding buddy Mike Sylvia from Massachusetts on board
I woke up this morning thinking this would be the day. Alas, the weather
had a plan all of its own.
The calm conditions we enjoyed over the last two weekends are no more.
Today we have a swell and northeast winds to go with it.
We head right out of the harbor and find the female HARLEQUIN DUCK
associating with scuba divers near the base of the coast guard jetty.
There are several COMMON MURRES in this area along with our
first RHINOCEROS AUKLET and a PELAGIC CORMORANT.
Our plan for the day is to get over to the north end of the bay and
the area where the storm-petrels have been roosting for much of the
last month. This area has had the most seabird activity of late and
Mike is out for a visit in hopes of seeing his first Least Storm-petrel,
as are some others on board.
Our usual skipper Richard Ternullo is on his way to Italy today so
in his place is the only female skipper on the bay, Killer Whale Researcher
Crossing the bay we realize that the number of SOOTY SHEARWATERS
is way down from last week. They must be on their way back to the
southern hemisphere islands around New Zealand or Chile. See the Tagging
of Pacific Pelagics (TOPP) Feature about Sooty Shearwater migration,
Seabird Makes Big Splash with Longest Recorded Animal Track
But as the Sooties depart it seems the NORTHERN FULMARS are
arriving. We see several in many different color morphs.
It's been two weeks since we saw our last BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS
but thanks to a bang up job of chumming by Tanner Easterla we end
up with a dozen for the day.
on the north end of the bay offshore of Davenport we find a large
flock of BULLER'S SHEARWATERS sitting on the water. We find
a few of these flocks today and sometimes there are PINK-FOOTED
SHEARWATERS mixed in with them. It looks as though they are staging
for migration. Sorting through our third large flock I spot a different
shearwater and manage to get everyone on the FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER.
is a lot of kleptoparastic activity going on with many POMARINE
JAEGERS, a few PARASITICS and several SOUTH POLAR SKUAS.
The ever sharp eyes of Todd Easterla find two SABINE'S GULLS.
Flyby loons include one COMMON and one PACIFIC. Speaking
of flybys we do get some exasperatingly brief looks at three different
CASSIN'S AUKLETS. We have seen hardly any this year.
In these conditions we do not find many storm-petrels except for the
occasional ASHY, no sign of any flock. Too bad for Mike, he'll
have to come back to Monterey another time.
The RED-NECKED PHALAROPES must have moved offshore; we see
only a few but we do see a MERLIN go after one of them. Other
interesting birds seen out on the bay are a flock of NORTHERN PINTAILS
and a female TEAL sp. following a Common Murre.
As for marine mammals we have two HUMPBACK WHALES dive right next
to the boat. We also find a mixed species pod of RISSO'S, NORTHERN
RIGHT WHALE and PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHINS. Some of these come in
to ride the bow for a little up close and personal interaction with
Rounding out the marine mammals are CALIFORNIA SEA LIONS, HARBOR SEALS
and the ever popular SEA OTTER.
For more photographs from this trip, see Glen
Roger Wolfe for Monterey