October 3, 2004 Seabird Cruise Trip Report
Click on photos below to see enlarged
Sunday October 3, 2004
Our nice sized group of 25 (including leaders) got underway
under unseasonably foggy conditions. Whatever became of Indian Summer?
Oh well, seabirders are some of the hardiest folks around and a little
fog doesn't deter any of us.
The coast guard jetty is now crowded with CALIFORNIA SEA LIONS along
with many BRANDT'S CORMORANTS. On the outer edge we also find
a few BLACK TURNSTONES and a single RUDDY as well. A
foursome of EARED GREBES works the kelpline off the Monterey
Bay Aquarium and we also see GREAT EGRETS, a GREAT BLUE
HERON and a WILLET perched atop the kelp off Cannery Row.
Here we also find our trip SEA OTTER and our first COMMON MURRES.
ELEGANT and CASPIAN TERNS fly by. Passing by Pt. Pinos
we get the chum going and soon have a contingent of WESTERN,
HEERMANN'S and CALIFORNIA GULLS in tow. Once we're past
the point and heading out into the bay we begin seeing SOOTY SHEARWATERS
and soon after we pick up some PINK-FOOTED as well. On the
whole shearwater numbers are down compared to two weeks ago. They
are now on their way to Chile or New Zealand. To see the migration
of tagged Sooties from Monterey Bay check out the seaturtle.org
the day we will find four species of shearwaters, only a smattering
of BULLER'S but we also manage to find a very cooperative FLESH-FOOTED
SHEARWATER sitting on the water, then flying but returning to
sit on the water much to the delight of the photographers on board.
RHINOCEROS AUKLETS are numerous and we find several rafts of
them particularly on the edge of the Monterey Canyon. These conditions
with the overcast skies and land not visible are what our skipper
Richard Ternullo calls fallout weather. We see several landbirds offshore
who have lost their way over the bay. On the day we record 3 species
of icterids--WESTERN MEADOWLARK and both RED-WINGED
and BREWER'S BLACKBIRD. We also see a TOWNSEND'S and
We come to an area with a concentration of 12 HUMPBACK WHALES and
RISSO'S, PACIFIC-WHITE SIDED and NORTHERN RIGHT WHALE DOLPHINS. There
is also a lot of seabird activity amongst them along with our first
of 3 POMARINE JAEGERS.
In Santa Cruz county waters we come upon a scattering flock of storm-petrels,
mostly ASHY but there are also numerous BLACK STORM PETRELS
but only 1 LEAST. They seem hesitant to rest on the water and
on the whole appear quite restless and then disperse altogether. A
longliner cruises by and this attracts 4 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS
who come in very close to the boat for some of the squid we're using
as chum. We even get to hear them vocalize when fighting over the
back toward Monterey we pick up several of the fastest cetaceans on
earth--DALL'S PORPOISES and they ride the bow for yet another photo
opportunity. Then we get a call over the radio and off we go. A pod
of 6 KILLER WHALES with one small calf are en route somewhere and
we manage to cross paths with them. There is one large male who is
easily recognizable because his dorsal fin is flopped all the way
over to the left.
The basking ELEPHANT SEAL and cruising HARBOR SEALS seen earlier bring
our marine mammal total up to 10 for the day!
Off Pt. Pinos on the way in to the harbor we pick up a PARASITIC
JAEGER and off Cannery Row we find several PIGEON GUILLEMOTS
and a couple of PELAGIC CORMORANTS to make the day complete.
Roger Wolfe for Monterey
||10/3/04 Trip Report
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Last updated November 18, 2004