Saturday September 13, 2008
In that today's trip was a sanctioned Santa Cruz Bird Club Big Year
Field trip we got the hell out of Monterey County as fast as possible.
A single MINKE WHALE and a pair of HUMPBACK WHALES held up our progress
and we did stop for a few interesting sightings but eventually we
crossed over the county line just before finding our first of two
SHEARWATERS were ubiquitous. PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS were
numerous and the BULLER'S SHEARWATERS plentiful. A single MANX
SHEARWATER spotted by Todd Easterla off the north coast of Santa
Cruz County was the highlight for some of our participants and the
photographers had a field day with this very cooperative individual
that flew around us and landed right next to the boat.
A few RED PHALAROPES were found in amongst the little flocks of RED-NECKED
We enjoyed nearly a dozen cooperative SOUTH POLAR SKUAS along
with several PARASITIC and POMARINE JAEGERS but no Long-taileds
for the day.
working the waters close to shore we circled back on a southwestern
heading until we arrived at Cabrillo Canyon and came upon the storm-petrel
flocks. ASHY STORM-PETRELS in the thousands were seen in flight
and on the water. We tallied 10 BLACK STORM-PETRELS and a single
WILSON'S to contribute to the Santa Cruz Bird Club Big Year.
Speaking of the bird club, we found many of the newsletter mascot
BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS along with flocks of SABINE'S
GULL. A single XANTUS'S MURRELET flew by the boat on our
way back towards Monterey County where we saw our only NORTHERN
FULMAR on the day.
ELEGANT TERNS trickled by throughout the day but once again
we found zero Common or Arctic Terns, which is getting to seem a bit
Both COMMON MURRE and RHINOCEROS AUKLET were the only
other alcids seen.
In addition to the above mentioned cetaceans we saw a couple of NORTHERN
RIGHT WHALE DOLPHINS mixed in with many PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHINS,
and the mother/calf pair of LONG-BEAKED COMMON DOLPHINS that are still
hanging out near the Coast Guard jetty greeted us as we ventured out
of the harbor. DALL'S PORPOISES were also seen.
We did quite well with pinnipeds, in addition to the expected CALIFORNIA
SEA LIONS we saw NORTHERN FUR , ELEPHANT and HARBOR SEALS.
For additional photos, see Jeff
Poklen's photo gallery for the September 13 and 14 seabird cruises.
Roger Wolfe for Monterey