Sunday October 14, 2007
||"To the human mind, the wanderings and life histories of pelagic
animals remain mysterious.
There are no experts or masters, just students. It is as it should
||Rich Stallcup -- Ocean Birds of the Nearshore Pacific
Our trip this morning is sold out. There are 25 participants on
board. I can't imagine having more.
Today we get underway at a very civilized time of day -- 7:30. The
sun is shining and the wind is light as we cruise along the breakwater
and then Cannery Row pointing out PIGEON GUILLEMOTS, BLACK
TURNSTONES, BRANDT'S CORMORANTS, CALIFORNIA SEA LIONS and
EARED, WESTERN and CLARK'S GREBES. Both GREAT
and SNOWY EGRETS are floating on the kelp canopy. We find a
RHINOCEROS AUKLET and SURF SCOTERS.
Both PACIFIC and COMMON LOONS are seen flying overhead.
It really feels like fall; there's a bite to the wind.
beyond Pt. Pinos and into the fog we start seeing the first of many
NORTHERN FULMARS and soon add PINK-FOOTED, SOOTY and
BULLER'S SHEARWATERS to the mix. Richard Ternullo pilots the
boat to an area where we found Humpback Whales and a lot of shearwater
activity yesterday but today we find very little activity. We head
north toward the area called "the fingers", a series of sea canyons
north of Santa Cruz where the storm-petrel flocks have been found
recently but we find no sign of them. Yesterday we found them scattered
offshore. I'm not going to sugar-coat things; the level of activity
We do pick up a few POMARINE JAEGERS and SOUTH POLAR SKUAS.
We see a RED PHALAROPE or two but these are few and far between.
It probably would not seem so slow had yesterday's trip not been so
There are a few BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS that come in to see
why the gulls are following us, thanks to diligent chumming by Tanner
Easterla and Max Baer. We get a fleeting glimpse at small flocks of
CASSIN'S AUKLETS flying away.
Finally a single FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER wakes everyone up.
We cross paths with some PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED and NORTHERN RIGHT WHALE
We've been wondering where all the COMMON MURRES have been
hiding and as we come to Soquel Canyon we answer that question, they
are all over the place.
Before we know it we're back in Monterey County waters. A few miles
north of Pt. Pinos I'm thinking to myself that this is one of those
quiet days. I'm at the stern with Todd Easterla and he calls my attention
to a Pink-footed Shearwater crossing our wake.
"Look at this Pink-foot, it looks darker on the underside."
looking at the bird when Todd stutters and says, "Look at the bird
right behind it! STREAKED SHEARWATER." We both start yelling,
"STOP THE BOAT!"
We're yelling out directions and pointing out the bird. "Are you guys
seeing this bird?" Most of the murmuring behind me sounds like yes.
I keep calling out where the bird is, keeping my bins on it and ask
if Dan is seeing it. Dan Singer is right behind me saying yes. It's
nice to have the Chairman of the California Bird Records Committee
on board as a spotter today. Todd has the presence of mind to snap
The Streaked shows no interest in us and keeps on its way. Richard
turns the boat in the direction it flies and we get some cod liver
oil in the water but the bird is gone. There is a lot of high fiving
While we are looking at Todd's photos on the back of his digital camera
and seeing that he's managed a record shot Todd says, "It's like Rich
Stallcup told me a long time ago. You got to work it at the end of
the day on pelagic trips because that's when the rarities show up."
For additional photos, see Jeff
Poklen's photo gallery for this trip and the October 13 trip.
Roger Wolfe for Monterey