Monterey Seabirds
October 2, 2010 Seabird Cruise Trip Report

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Saturday October 2, 2010

Flesh-footed Shearwater, photo by Martijn Verdoes   Sabine's Gull, photo by Martijn Verdoes




Here is the eBird report for the October 2 trip, compiled by Don Roberson:

Location: Monterey Bay pelagic -- inshore Mty Harbor to Pt. Pinos (MTY Co.)
Observation date: 10/2/10
Notes: Monterey Seabirds trip aboard 'Pt Sur Clipper' with John Mayer, skipper; Roger Wolfe; leaders D. Roberson, Kenneth Peterson, Martijn Verdoes; with Blake Matheson, Peter White, Tom Grey, et al. This is the outbound inshore checklist only (<1 nmi offshore); see separate checklists for offshore MTY and SCZ. We had a large male sea lion on the jetty that had characters of Steller, we think, but it was dark, not blonde. Hopefully the photos will sort it out. Overcast & cool
Number of species:

  14

 
  Surf Scoter 4   small flock flying S
  Pacific Loon   4   all in flight, arrivals
  Brown Pelican   25     
  Brandt's Cormorant   200    
  Double-crested Cormorant   1    
  Pelagic Cormorant   2    
  Great Egret   1   on kelp
  Black Turnstone   4    
  Heermann's Gull   50    
  Western Gull   100    
  Western x Glaucous-winged Gull (hybrid)   1   first-cycle
  California Gull   150    
  Elegant Tern   8    
  Common Murre   7    
  Pigeon Guillemot   2   both in juv plumage; all adults appear to be gone
           
Location: Monterey Bay pelagic (MTY Co.)
Observation date: 10/2/10
Notes: Monterey Seabirds trip aboard 'Pt Sur Clipper' with John Mayer, skipper; Roger Wolfe; leaders D. Roberson, Kenneth Peterson, Martijn Verdoes; with Blake Matheson, Peter White, Tom Grey, et al. This is the offshore MTY checklist only (>1 nmi offshore); see separate checklists for inshore MTY and offshore SCZ. Cold, foggy day, and quite windy (Bft 4-5) offshore, fog persisted until 10 a.m. when we went north, and fog still present on afternoon return but clearing by mid-afternoon. Was rough running into wind but otherwise okay. Route was to Pt. Pinos, then NW to 8.5 nmi off, then ESE back towards Moss Landing at midBay, then N into SCZ for 1 hr 15 min, then S to 7 nmi W of Cypress Pt., and return to Pt. Pinos, One Grampus on way out; in afternoon ~7 nmi off Cypress Pt. was lots of krill, 25+ Humpback, and a Blue Whale (lots of photos). Blue Whale was lunge feeding, and some Humpbacks were as well
Number of species:

  24

 
  Surf Scoter   3   migrants
  Pacific Loon   1   ~4 mi off, migrant
  Black-footed Albatross   8    
  Northern Fulmar   3     
  Pink-footed Shearwater     200    
  Sooty Shearwater   150    
  Sooty/Short-tailed Shearwater   1   felt to be STSH in the field; a crisp fresh-plumaged dark shearwater came up behind the boat at midBay, fed in the wake, and circled several times (photos). My feeling was that it was both short-billed and slim-billed; that it had a steep forehead; and that it looked small and compact, like STSH. It may be one. However, it had much white in underwing coverts and my photos show a longer bill than is typical (although it still looks slim). It is actually quite similar to one photo'd off Morro Bay last winter that half the boat thought Short-tailed (included Lehman, McCaskie et al.) and the other half of the boat thought Sooty (including J. Dunn et al., if I am recalling right). That bird, and this one, seem to be in an intermediate zone. The photo does show steep forehead and a small whitish throat, good for STSH, but much white on underwings (too much?). More info/study is needed on these problematic birds, so I put as a slash-species for now. I suspect these intermediates are STs, though.
  Ashy Storm-Petrel   8   scattered widely
  Black Storm-Petrel   1   ~7 nmi NW of Pt. Pinos
  Brandt's Cormorant   1   ~4 mi offshore
  Dunlin   4   small tight flock lost in fog
  peep sp.   1   seen by others; Dunlin or similar size (not Least/Western)
  Red-necked Phalarope   80    
  Red Phalarope   40    
  Sabine's Gull   110   largest flocks ~4-5 nmi off Pt Pinos in afternoon, including perhaps 20 juvs
  Heermann's Gull   15   most were inshore
  Mew Gull (American)   1   juv following boat ~5 nmi W of Pt Pinos (photos)
  Western Gull   100    
  California Gull   250    
  Common Tern   6    
  Arctic Tern   2   one adult photo'd as it crossed bow
  Pomarine Jaeger   4    
  Parasitic Jaeger   1    
  jaeger sp.   2   Pom/Parasitic types
  Common Murre   40    
  Cassin's Auklet   75   in dense patches over krill near whales
  Rhinoceros Auklet   150   widely scattered
           
Location: Monterey Bay pelagic (SCZ Co.)
Observation date: 10/2/10
Notes: Monterey Seabirds trip aboard 'Pt Sur Clipper' with John Mayer, skipper; Roger Wolfe; leaders D. Roberson, Kenneth Peterson, Martijn Verdoes; with Blake Matheson, Peter White, Tom Grey, et al. This is the offshore SCZ checklist only (we never got close to SCZ shore); see separate checklists for inshore MTY and offshore MTY. Cold, foggy day, and quite windy (Bft 4-5) offshore, fog persisted until 10 a.m. when we went north into SCZ, where sunny. Route was to Pt. Pinos, then NW to 8.5 nmi off, then ESE back towards Moss Landing at midBay, then N into SCZ for 1 hr 15 min (this checklist), then S to 7 nmi W of Cypress Pt., and return to Pt. Pinos. Within SCZ, up to Soquel Cyn and back. Roger put out an oil slick for 30 minutes over N rim of Mty Canyon that eventually attracted the FFSH
Number of species:

  15

 
  Black-footed Albatross   5    
  Northern Fulmar   3     
  Pink-footed Shearwater     50    
  Flesh-footed Shearwater     1   came into oil slick and then followed boat for a bit (photos)
  Sooty Shearwater   15    
  Ashy Storm-Petrel   3    
  Red Phalarope   8    
  Sabine's Gull   15    
  Western Gull   50    
  California Gull   150    
  Common Tern   1    
  Common/Arctic Tern   1    
  Pomarine Jaeger   2    
  jaeger sp.   1    
  Common Murre   15    
  Cassin's Auklet   10    
  Rhinoceros Auklet   40    
           
 
The above reports were generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)


Tom Grey's thoughts about the trip:

I can pass on my own happy experience of the Monterey Seabirds pelagic trip last Saturday, 10/2, though photography (at least mine) was handicapped by fog/overcast most of the time. We had views of at least one and perhaps two Blue Whales, including a couple of instances of surface lunge feeding, and saw many Humpback Whales, including a startling surfacing of one RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE BOAT. I happened to be sitting in the bow seat when this happened, and let me tell you, it was an awesome sight. I feebly tried to photograph it, came away with a couple of blurred images of what looks like a big gray wall. My one whale photo worth posting shows the impressive spout of a Blue looming a large ocean swell.

Birdwise, there was a possible SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER and a very good sighting of a FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER that circled the boat providing good views; I failed to get a decent photo of either one. Many SABINE'S GULLS flew by, and I have one so-so photo showing an adult and a juvenile flying together. I also have photos of an adult POMARINE JAEGER and an ARCTIC TERN.

As usual, the best photo-ops were supplied by BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS, with at least two distinct birds, and probably more. I have photos of a Blackfoot with its left foot missing, a bird I first photographed in September 2008 and then again in May of this year, at least I think it's the same bird. See http://www.pbase.com/tgrey/montereypelagic_oct10 for my photos from this trip, and the four photos at the bottom of http://www.pbase.com/tgrey/albatrosses_blackfooted for the series showing the albatross with the missing foot. (The one from this trip may appear ambiguous as to whether the foot is missing or just obscured by foam, but I have another less-good photo from Saturday that clearly shows the left leg without a foot.)

-- Tom Grey
www.pbase.com/tgrey


Roger Wolfe for Monterey Seabirds


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Last updated October 5, 2010