Monterey Seabirds
July 13, 2003 Seabird Cruise Trip Report


Sunday July 13, 2003

Seabird trip leadersFoggy conditions prevailed for the morning of our July 13 seabirding trip. In fact we heard our first Humpback Whale before we saw it! A marine layer like this is not uncommon on the Monterey Bay particularly in the summer months. Usually it clears up in the afternoon or at least dissipates enough to be conducive for seabirding and whale watching.

Just past Pt. Pinos near the bell buoy we had distant views of a TUFTED PUFFIN flying away from the boat. We attempted to refind it but never saw it land. Our vessel, the Sea Wolf II, headed out 16 miles west of Pt. Pinos. In the deep waters over the sea canyon we came upon a longlining fishing boat hauling in its catch with 20 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS feeding upon the bycatch of Pacific Hake. These black fish had their swim bladders inflated like a balloon out of their mouths and bulging eyes as a result of being pulled up quickly from a great depth. Bad decompression!

The albatrosses' attraction to longliners can be a hazardous one. For more information on this issue and to express your concern go to I also recommend the book Eye of the Albatross by Carl Safina for an excellent overview of this dilemma. It is a wonderfully written book about seabirds and other fauna of the Pacific.

A Blue Whale appeared out of the fog fairly close to the boat, thrilling all on board. At different points we had both Pacific White-sided and Northern Right Whale Dolphins riding the bow.

Among the many SOOTY SHEARWATERS we came upon only 2 PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS for the day. Heading east into Santa Cruz county waters the sun broke out as the fog dissipated, making for a spectacular day on the Monterey Bay. We came upon some XANTUS'S MURRELETS (3) thanks to some good spotting on the bow from local birder Tim Amaral and John Covenely, a visiting birder from Ireland. Unfortunately these birds had no interest in sticking around and we had to be content with views of them flying away. CASSIN'S AUKLETS were back in force with large numbers of them in the vicinity of Soquel Canyon in particular.

Other alcids were COMMON MURRE, including several father and chick pairs, a few RHINOCEROS AUKLETS and PIGEON GUILLEMOTS.

Special thanks to our leaders Don Roberson, Dan Singer and Stephen F. Bailey and our skipper Richard Ternullo. On our next trip several of our regulars will be able to take advantage of our take 3 trips and the 4th is free policy in 2003.

Trip list for July 13, 2003

Black-footed Albatross
Pink-footed Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater
Brown Pelican
Brandt's Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Heerman's Gull
Western Gull
Common Murre
Pigeon Guillemot
Xantus's Murrelet
Cassin's Auklet
Rhinoceros Auklet
Tufted Puffin


Blue Whale
Humpback Whale
Pacific White-sided Dolphin
Harbor Seal
Northern Elephant Seal
California Sea Lion
Pacific Sea Otter

Roger Wolfe for Monterey Seabirds


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Monterey, CA 93940
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Last updated August 16, 2003