Monterey Seabirds
September 25, 2005 Seabird Cruise Trip Report


Sunday September 25, 2005

The forecast was for winds from the northeast but the reality was wind from the southwest. Go figure. Given the opportunity, free of the typical winds from the northwest our group of 20 headed offshore.

Our route took us southwest out of the bay and out to the 1500 fathom spot. This is the deepest water you can find close to shore, 23 miles out from Pt. Pinos where the depth is 9,000 ft.

Juvenile Sabine's Gull, photo by Jeff PoklenJust after boarding the boat a juvenile SABINE'S GULL flew by. We relocated it in a feeding frenzy of BRANDT'S CORMORANTS and an assortment of gulls just off the breakwater. Tanner Easterla chummed in earnest and before we knew it the Sabine's was right up to the stern eating popcorn. A nice way to start the day and far from typical.

Moving out of the bay we plunged into the dense marine layer that resulted in some grumbling but soon the layer dissipated and we were enjoying really pleasant conditions.

RHINOCEROS AUKLETS and COMMON MURRES were found along with a single very uncooperative CASSIN'S AUKLET, which are very sparse in the bay this year.

Shearwaters consisted of the expected SOOTY, PINK-FOOTED and BULLERS. NORTHERN FULMARS, which had been few and far between before this week, put in a good showing.

In comparison to the previous weekend the seabirds were not concentrated in flocks and we had to put in some serious effort to find them. We had numerous SOUTH POLAR SKUAS and a few POMARINE JAEGERS.

Several ASHY STORM-PETRELS were seen and a single BLACK STORM-PETREL was sighted far from where the flocks have been congregating near Davenport.

Baird's Beaked Whale Fluke, photo by Jeff PoklenThe big thrill on the day was the sighting of a pod of ten BAIRD'S BEAKED WHALES near the 1500-fathom spot. We saw them briefly just before they dove and decided to lay down a fish oil slick and sit on it while we waited for the whales to resurface. While we were waiting a PARASITIC JAEGER flew by followed by a LONG-TAILED JAEGER that resulted in hoots of "SKUA SLAM!" from the back of the boat.

After 45 minutes we decided to give up on the whales and just as the engines revved up to go the BAIRD'S BEAKED WHALES were seen doing a whale version of panting behind us. Richard Ternullo maneuvered the boat into a good viewing position for a photo op and we enjoyed some spectacular, up close looks at these bizarre whales. One of the animals put on a quite a show rolling over onto its back exposing its underside. It also swam sideways with half of its tail out of the water.

Three Local seabirders took advantage of our go on 3 get the 4th free and were comped.

Also seen:


Roger Wolfe for Monterey Seabirds


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Photos copyright © 2005 Jeff Poklen, all rights reserved.

Last updated October 4, 2005