Sunday August 12, 2007
The stripes on the flag at the end of the wharf are horizontal this
morning; like the previous day it looks as though we'll be dealing
with the northwest wind. No worries though, as our skipper Richard
Ternullo has more than thirty years' experience on the Monterey Bay
and has a plan for our day at sea.
We get underway and start seeing marine mammals as soon as the bowline
is undone. A SOUTHERN SEA OTTER displays tool using abilities by pounding
a mollusk on a rock balanced on his chest.
A PIGEON GUILLEMOT flies under the wharf where it likely has
Numerous CALIFORNIA SEA LIONS have returned to the jetty where they
lie on the rocks in close contact with one another. BRANDT'S CORMORANTS
have now relegated the top of the jetty back to the sea lions now
that their young have fledged. We find a single BLACK TURNSTONE
at the end of the jetty and a few BROWN PELICANS.
As always, we stop along historic Cannery Row to point out PELAGIC
CORMORANTS and our first COMMON MURRES. We then make a
hard right turn and start on a northern heading. We're pointing out
some RED-NECKED PHALAROPES when spotter Fritz Steurer calls
out, "HORNED PUFFIN!" Too bad it's a flyby but we do see that
it is a white-faced adult. There are still some around for the summer
after an incredible, atypical spring that saw dozens of HOPU around
the Monterey Bay.
is a lull in the action after that. We cover a lot of water and as
we come to the Soquel Canyon we enter a low-lying bank of fog. We
look up and see blue sky but on either side of the boat the visibility
has shrunk to maybe 20 feet. We're birding by Braille now. In the
mist we find our first flocks of SOOTY SHEARWATERS sitting
on the water.
We finally break out the fog and see that we are now off of Santa
Cruz. Moving north toward Davenport the wind picks up and so does
the shearwater activity. PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS and soon a
few BULLER'S are added to the mix.
My nephew Kevin is on board as our chummer. He could care less about
the birds he doesn't even have any bins so he isn't distracted and
keeps the popcorn and anchovies going and the WESTERN, HEERMANN'S
and CALIFORNIA GULLS in tow.
harder," I chide him, "Where are our albatrosses?"
"It's not my fault," he replies, but when the first BLACK-FOOTED
ALBATROSS comes to the chum he takes the credit.
The chumming also brings in a few photogenic POMARINE JAEGERS
but only a couple of PARASITIC JAEGERS. SABINE'S GULLS
stay in the distance except for one that comes in close for some popcorn.
Two ARCTIC TERNS fly by in the distance off our stern but the
ELEGANT TERNS pass right over our heads.
We find only a smattering of RHINOCEROS AUKLETS both in flight
and on the water.
The whitecaps are now out in force but we still manage to find the
blows of several HUMPBACK WHALES and one of these comes in quite close
to the boat to elicit some ooohs and aaahs from the newbies. A small
pod of PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHINS comes to us and they ride our
bow for a good ten minutes. I for one never tire of looking down into
the blowholes of dolphins on the bow or of seabirding in the Monterey
For additional photos, see Jeff
Poklen's photo gallery for this trip.
Roger Wolfe for Monterey