Sunday November 9, 2003
The daunting weather forecast proved to be incorrect. I recently
asked one of the skippers down at Fisherman's Wharf. "Danny, do you
ever read the weather forecasts?" To which he replied, "If I paid
any attention to the weather forecasts I'd never go to work!"
The conditions on the bay Sunday were good. We never saw any of the
predicted rain, the winds were just enough to keep the tubenoses flying
around our boat for most of the day, and the swell was moderate.
We started our day with the male HARLEQUIN DUCK in all his
finery inside the harbor.
Once we got out into the bay it was tubenose city but conversely we
saw almost no alcids at all. We had NORTHERN FULMARS flying
around the boat almost continuously. Lots of BULLER'S, PINK-FOOTED
and BLACK-VENTED SHEARWATERS but only a smattering of SOOTIES
and a few dark-brown shearwater sp. that went unidentified to species.
A single FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER was our bird of the day.
most excitement was generated by an interesting bird that we wanted
to get better looks at. We thought it a possible 1st winter Red-legged
Kittiwake and our skipper Richard Ternullo summoned all the power
the Point Sur Clipper had in her and charged after the bird. Spray
was flying, cameras were grabbed and hugged to the body to keep dry,
chum was flung off the stern frantically, lenses were wiped, then
wiped again. But when we finally managed to pull alongside we could
see the yellow-tipped black bill of a late, basic plumaged SABINE'S
GULL. We were a bit disappointed yet exhilarated by the thrill
of the chase.
In the midst of all the excitement two ASHY STORM-PETRELS went
RED PHALAROPES were abundant and POMARINE JAEGERS common.
Gull enthusiasts were very happy back at the stern with BONAPARTE'S,
GLAUCOUS-WINGED, WESTERN, HERRING, THAYER'S
and HEERMANN'S GULLS (not to mention the various intergrades)
coming in for the popcorn, squid and anchovy chum.
Alcids were in the single digits. CASSIN'S and RHINOCEROS
AUKLETS and a few COMMON MURRES were it.
Marine Mammals seen were also in the single digits -- HUMPBACK WHALES
and RISSO'S DOLPHINS. A SPERM WHALE had been seen a few times the
previous week but we were unable to refind it.
Roger Wolfe for Monterey