Monterey Seabirds
January 23, 2011 Seabird Cruise Trip Report

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Sunday January 23, 2011

We enjoyed a lovely day on the Monterey Bay on January 23. Granted seabirds were a bit sparse but the Gray Whales put on quite a show. Northern Fulmars have largely evacuated, and we saw only a few. A single Sooty Shearwater was our only other procellarid and oddly enough zero albatrosses (Richard Ternullo reports he hasn't seen one in 3 weeks).

The highlight was the Gray Whales that approached the boat very closely, trying to evade some Risso's Dolphins that seemed to be worrying them. I've served as a naturalist on dozens of Gray Whale trips but this one was the best! Rarely do we get such close interaction from Gray Whales.

I've put a video of our Gray Whale encounter up on YouTube for your viewing pleasure. You can see it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-nOHlVX1fY

We'll be doing another one of these half-day trips on March 20. Hope you can make it.

Gray whale very close to boat, photo by Coni Hendry

Gray whale very close to boat, photo by Coni Hendry

Gray whale very close to boat, photo by Coni Hendry
  Upside-down gray whale very close to boat, photo by Coni Hendry

Gray whale very close to boat, photo by Coni Hendry
Coni Hendry took these shots using her little point and shoot digital camera from the bow.
The Gray Whale in the upper right photo is completely upside down!


Here are Don Roberson's eBird reports for the day:

Location: Monterey Bay pelagic (MTY Co.)
Observation date: 1/23/11
Notes: Part of Monterey Seabird trip aboard Sea Wolf II with R. Ternullo, skipper; Roger Wolfe,
Tim Amaral, Blake Matheson, Jeff Poklen, many Scz Bird Club members. See separate checklist for
inshore portion (<1 mile offshore)
. This checklist begins heading for S rim of Canyon, than west past Pt.
Pinos (~2-4 nmi offshore), then south to Carmel Bay (~1.5 nmi offshore) where we had very close
encounters with Gray Whales (~20 Gray Whale all told), plus 50 Grampus. Gorgeous day; calm, sunny;
sea state Beaufort 1-3, becoming calmer as day went on.
Number of species:

  16

 
  Pacific Loon   8    
  Northern Fulmar   7   incl 1 white morph
  Sooty Shearwater   1    
  Brandt's Cormorant   20   these more than a mile offshore
  Red Phalarope   1    
  Black-legged Kittiwake    3   1 ad, 2 first-cycle
  Heermann's Gull   25    
  Mew Gull (American)   2   first-cycles
  Western Gull   1200    
  Western x Glaucous-winged Gull (hybrid)   2    
  California Gull   400    
  Herring Gull (American)   1   adult
  Thayer's Gull   3   1 ad, 2 first-cycle
  Glaucous-winged Gull   50    
  Common Murre   150    
  Cassin's Auklet   4    
  Rhinoceros Auklet   100   widely scattered; most imms but a few full-plumed adults
           
           
Location: Monterey Bay pelagic--inshore Mty Harbor to Pt. Pinos (MTY Co.)
Observation date: 1/23/11
Notes: part of Monterey Seabird trip aboard Sea Wolf II with R. Ternullo, skipper; Roger Wolfe,
Tim Amaral, Blake Matheson, Jeff Poklen, many Scz Bird Club members. See separate checklist for
offshore portion (>1 mile offshore)
. This checklist is comprised of two portions: 45 min in a.m. off Seaside,
looking for inshore alcids & grebes, and last hour of trip, from Cypress Point to harbor, all within 1 mile of
shore; also includes Coast Guard jetty (but does not include birds in the harbor). Lovely calm & sunny
day.
Number of species:

  25

   
  Harlequin Duck   1   ad male off C.G. pier
  Surf Scoter   20    
  Red-throated Loon   2    
  Pacific Loon   35    
  Common Loon   7    
  Horned Grebe   2    
  Eared Grebe   25    
  Western Grebe   2    
  Northern Fulmar   1   1 off Cypress Pt. within a mile of shore
  Brown Pelican   15    
  Brandt's Cormorant   250   have begun courtship display on C.G. pier
  Pelagic Cormorant   20    
  Black Oystercatcher   1   on C.G. jetty; rather scarce on this spot
  Black Turnstone   15    
  Surfbird   1    
  Sanderling   1    
  Heermann's Gull   15    
  Mew Gull (American)   80   including near 'pure' flocks off Otter Pt.
  Western Gull   500    
  Western x Glaucous-winged Gull (hybrid)   2    
  California Gull   60    
  Herring x Glaucous-winged Gull (hybrid)   1   adult off Seaside
  Glaucous-winged Gull   10    
  Common Murre   40    
  Pigeon Guillemot   2   both likely first-winter birds
  Ancient Murrelet   6   off Seaside; photos of one pair
  Rhinoceros Auklet   25   all imms but surprising numbers on such a calm day
           

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)

Roger Wolfe for Monterey Seabirds


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Last updated January 25, 2011