Monterey Bay Whale Watch
March 9, 2003 Seabird Cruise Trip Report


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 pair.

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.

Red-necked Grebe photo by Roger Wolfe.Late 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

Pacific Loon
Common Loon
Horned Grebe
Eared Grebe
Red-necked Grebe
Clark's Grebe
Western Grebe
Black-footed Albatross
Northern Fulmar
Sooty Shearwater
Short-tailed Shearwater
MANX SHEARWATER (rare on the west coast)
Black-vented Shearwater
Pomarine Jaeger
Brown Pelican
Brandt's Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Harlequin Duck
Heermann's Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
GlaucousXGlaucous-winged hybrid
Black-legged Kittiwake
Common Murre
Pigeon Guillemot
Rhinoceros Auklet
Cassin's Auklet
Black Turnstone

Gray whale
Humpback Whale
Harbor Seal
California Sea Lion
California Sea Otter

Roger Wolfe for Monterey Bay Whale Watch


Previous Seabird Trip Report Previous Report
U R Here 3/9/03 Trip Report
Next Seabird Trip Report Next Report
Monterey Seabirds home page Home page
Trip Species List Species List
To trip reports Trip Reports
About Monterey Seabirds About Us
Seabird Links Links

See our Privacy Policy.

Monterey Bay Whale Watch logo (2K)
Monterey Bay Whale Watch, LLC
84 Fisherman's Wharf
Monterey, CA 93940
Phone 831-375-4658

Copyright © 2002-2023 Monterey Bay Whale Watch, LLC. All rights reserved.

Photo copyright © 2003 Roger Wolfe, all rights reserved.

Last updated June 13, 2003