Monterey Seabirds
April 18, 2009 Seabird Cruise Trip Report

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Sea otter mating activity, photo by Glen TepkeSaturday April 18, 2009

As I write up this trip report Central California is experiencing record breaking high temperatures. If only that had been the case for our April 18th outing. As it was we were subjected to a double whammy of both wind and fog so the day was a chilly one with bad visibility. The winds at this time of year are to be expected and appreciated as they are what drives the food chain in the Monterey Bay and coast of California but the fog this time of year is atypical.

One trip highlight occurred shortly after leaving the harbor. Off of Cannery Row we were pointing out the Sea Otters anchored in the kelp forest when our attention was called to some commotion that turned out to be a copulating pair of otters. This was a first for many of us on board and admittedly we were voyeurs to the act which was devoid of any tenderness. The male appeared to be brutalizing his mate, gripping her nose in his sharp teeth and holding her under water for long periods of time. Fortunately it did not go on for long. They broke it off when I brought out the video camera, no YouTube for them! But Glen Tepke did capture some still shots of the mating activity, including this photo of the male biting the female's nose.

As to the birds, here is what Don Roberson compiled for Ebird:

12
45
1
1
80
15
8
2
2000
1
5
15
1
3
1
40
100
1
50
3
1
2
75
2
5
2
12
6
  Brant (Black)
Surf Scoter
White-winged Scoter (North American) male
Red-throated Loon
Pacific Loon
Black-footed Albatross (conservative estimate)
Northern Fulmar 2 white morph
Pink-footed Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater
Short-tailed Shearwater (photos)
Brown Pelican
Brandt's Cormorant
Whimbrel (American) 2 mi offshore, heading N
Red-necked Phalarope
Black-legged Kittiwake
Bonaparte's Gull
Western Gull
Western x Glaucous-winged Gull (hybrid)
California Gull
Herring Gull (American)
Herring x Glaucous-winged Gull (hybrid)
Glaucous-winged Gull
Common Murre
Cassin's Auklet
Rhinoceros Auklet
Harlequin Duck (pair in the harbor)
Pigeon Guillemot
Pelagic Cormorant
    Black-legged Kittiwake, photo by Jeff Poklen
  Bonaparte's Gull, photo by Jeff Poklen


Also seen:

BLACK TURNSTONE

PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHIN
NORTHERN FUR SEAL
CALIFORNIA SEA LION


For additional photos, see Jeff Poklen's photo gallery for the April 18 seabird cruise.

Roger Wolfe for Monterey Seabirds

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Photos copyright © 2009 Glen Tepke and Jeff Poklen, all rights reserved.

Last updated April 23, 2009