Monterey Seabirds
August 16, 2009 Seabird Cruise Trip Report

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Sunday August 16, 2009

Pomarine Jaeger photo by Jeff PoklenLong-tailed Jaeger photo by Jeff PoklenWe made a gallant effort to work our way offshore in Beaufort 4 conditions. The northwest wind was kind to us but the swell was a good 6-10 feet and made the going slow. It was never so bad that the windows got really wet but it was close.

Recent reports had Monterey Bay "cooking" as in Cookilaria but we ended up with the digestif. Ours was a Jaegermeister day especially the Long-tailed Jaegers of which Don Roberson and Dan Singer kept a running count. Their total was a conservative 107, nearly double the previous high count on a seabird trip out of Monterey (61). Today was a study tour of LONG-TAILED JAEGER in every flavor.

Despite the less than favorable conditions Skipper Richard Ternullo got us out to 1500 fathoms where we laid a slick of cod liver oil and mashed anchovy and mackerel. Oddly enough this attracted no tubenoses but did bring in a swarm of more Long-tailed Jaegers (13).

It was really a special study to have all the LTJA of which we typically see only a handful on a good day. Of course we also enjoyed nice comparative looks at them with POMARINE JAEGERS. Those LTJA are scrappy; we saw them go after Poms and a SOUTH POLAR SKUA. The PARASITIC JAEGERS were less common for the day but still fairly numerous (22).

On the cetacean front we encountered BLUE and HUMPBACK WHALES, LONG-BEAKED COMMON, PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED and RISSO'S DOLPHINS.

Species list compiled by Don Roberson and Dan Singer:

50 Black-footed Albatross  
        a conservative estimate, but many followed boat for miles
  12   Northern Fulmar  
  40   Pink-footed Shearwater  
  25   Buller's Shearwater  
  400   Sooty Shearwater  
  10   Ashy Storm-Petrel  
        mostly well offshore
  1   Brandt's Cormorant  
  70   Red-necked Phalarope  
  175   Sabine's Gull  
        in flocks of up to 40 well offshore
  250   Heermann's Gull  
  500   Western Gull  
  150   California Gull  
  2   Arctic Tern  
  20   Elegant Tern  
        scattered to 10 mi offshore
  3   South Polar Skua  
        1 juv, 2 subadults in heavy wing molt
  22   Pomarine Jaeger  
  17   Parasitic Jaeger  
        mostly 1-10 nmi offshore
  107   Long-tailed Jaeger  
        mostly 10-23 nmi offshore; farther out in flocks of 6-15. An "exact" running total but still likely a significant undercount. About half were thought to be juvs (many phs)
  8   jaeger sp.  
  40   Common Murre  
  10   Pigeon Guillemot  
        exact count of a tight migrant flock of adults, heading north 3 nmi west of Pt. Pinos. Are these Channel Is birds migrating to Puget Sound already? Very unusual
  20   Cassin's Auklet  
        scattered mostly well offshore
  8   Rhinoceros Auklet  

Total species reported: 24

Click to see Google Earth image of track See the Google Earth image showing locations of points along the track (opens in new window).

See Jeff Poklen's photo gallery of this trip at: http://www.pbase.com/jpkln/16aug2009

Roger Wolfe for Monterey Seabirds

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Last updated August 19, 2009