Sunday March 9, 2003
The weather service forecasted rain but what do they know? We enjoyed
a beautiful sunny day on the water with calm seas. No one on board
ever looked the least bit green.
Our trips are scheduled for the most part for the second Sunday of
every month. Going out on a pelagic seabirding trip once a month is
quite interesting in that you can witness the changes that occur in
a four-week period. For example, last month we saw no Black-footed
Albatross; this trip had around 60!
The trip highlight was a MANX SHEARWATER in a group of BLACK-VENTED
SHEARWATERS spotted sitting on the water initially by our skipper
Richard Ternullo. The bird took flight before he could get on the
PA but leader Don Roberson caught sight of it from the bow and got
others on the bird as it was flying away.
Several wintering PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS were seen on the
day and a distant SOOTY and a SHORT-TAILED made for
5 species of shearwaters for the day. Not bad for March!
The pair of HARLEQUIN DUCKS wintering in the harbor were found
thanks to the sharp eyes of local bird guide Rick Fournier who spotted
them on the riprap at the back of the harbor. Richard skillfully maneuvered
the 70' Sea Wolf II into a place where all on board could see the
2 BRANT were seen on the little pocket beach near the radio
tower on Cannery Row. In this same area we also found a few newly
arrived PIGEON GUILLEMOTS. A notable change from last month
was with alcids; CASSIN'S AUKLET and COMMON MURRE numbers
were small compared to what we saw last month. RHINOCEROS AUKLETS
were seen in nearly all plumage variations and still in good numbers.
NORTHERN FULMARS were abundant and seen in all plumages, making
for 9 species of tubenoses on the day.
The GRAY WHALES are now all on their northbound migration,
unlike last month when we spotted the first north migrating pair.
About 25 miles offshore we were somewhat surprised to find the first
HUMPBACK WHALE of the season. A curiously small and solitary
one at that.
A good deal of excitement was generated by a gull that we initially
thought was a juvenile GLAUCOUS GULL but after some study was
deemed a hybrid with some GLAUCOUS-WINGED genes that leader
Dan Singer pointed out. We had several very cooperative BLACK-LEGGED
KITTIWAKES up close to the boat.
in the day a single dark POMARINE JAEGER was called out by
apprentice leader Ryan DiGaudio.
Back in the harbor as the boat was tied up a RED-NECKED GREBE
was spotted providing one last tick for some of our participants.
Our next trip is on April 13; cost is $70 per person. Pterodroma Todd
Easterla will be leading. Conditions permitting we will bird both
Santa Cruz and Monterey county waters.
Species List 3/09/03
MANX SHEARWATER (rare on the west coast)
California Sea Lion
California Sea Otter
Roger Wolfe for Monterey
Bay Whale Watch