Monterey Seabirds
June 8, 2003 Seabird Cruise Trip Report


Sunday June 8, 2003

As we got underway at 7:30 am I was surprised to see that the horde of California Sea Lions present on the Coast Guard jetty last month had been displaced by BRANDT'S CORMORANTS. Many of them on their nests. Our skipper and marine mammal researcher Richard Ternullo said that these birds are actually tenacious enough to bully adult sea lions off the jetty. (He also said that sea lions are kind of wimpy.)

No rocky shorebirds on the jetty today but outside the harbor we did find the expected PIGEON GUILLEMOTS and PELAGIC CORMORANTS that like to nest under the buildings that hang over the water along Cannery Row. Also along here we had our first COMMON MURRES and a RHINOCEROS AUKLET.

We took a southwesterly route out to about 1500 fathoms, 20 miles out. At 16 miles out the water temp rose from 55 F to 57.5 F. En route we conducted an experiment of sorts. Unable to find any popcorn for sale in large quantities, Richard brought along a big bag of Meow Mix to use as chum. We've used Dog Chow before with good results; it floats like popcorn and the gulls like it and congregate at the stern, thus attracting the interest of other pelagic birds in the area. Of course at this time of year there are far fewer gulls about but still they would have nothing to do with that Meow Mix even though it was seafood flavored! Not to the WESTERN, HEERMAN'S or CALIFORNIA GULLS. Good thing we had plenty of anchovies on board!

Black-footed Albatross, photo by Roger Wolfe.With a flock of gulls in tow the BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS came in to check out the boat. They were numerous today and at one point we had ten on the water near the stern at once, much to the delight of the photographers on board. SOOTY SHEARWATERS were also numerous but we saw only 2 PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS for the day.

From 20 miles out we headed north along the county line then northeast to the south rim of the sea canyon following the edge back towards Monterey. Along here we found a single first summer SABINE'S GULL. Don Roberson then spotted our bird of the day, a single FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER, much to the delight of the first-time visitors to the area on board.

When we came upon an area where there was a group of three feeding Humpback Whales we also saw many flocks of CASSIN'S AUKLETS feasting on the krill.

RISSO'S DOLPHINS were also cooperative in coming up quite near the boat at one point.

Next trip we'll leave the Meow Mix behind.

Roger Wolfe for Monterey Seabirds


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Last updated July 25, 2003