Saturday August 11, 2007
Once all our participants are on board our skipper/spotter Richard
Ternullo pulls me aside to report that the weather is going to be
a bit on the rough side. To be more specific the forecast is for wind
from the northwest at 15 to 25 knots. The winds from the NW have been
consistent this year, unlike the previous two years. These winds drive
the upwelling cycle in the Monterey Bay as they push the warmer water
away from the coastline, allowing the cooler water from deep in the
sea canyon to rise up and replace it. As the cooler water rises to
the surface it brings nutrients up from the bottom that would otherwise
stay down there. It is these nutrients that drive the food chain.
Without it there was widespread failure for locally nesting seabirds
the last two years so there will be no complaining about the wind
Check out the Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network (SIMoN) web
page on upwelling on the central coast at:
breakwater is now accumulating more CALIFORNIA SEA LIONS by the day
as the BRANDT'S CORMORANT colony there has fledged and will
now allow the pinnipeds on the rocks. Along here we also find our
first BROWN PELICANS and HEERMANN'S GULLS. On the other
side of the jetty we find the expected PIGEON GUILLEMOTS and
PELAGIC CORMORANTS. We work the area off Cannery Row in search
of a Horned Puffin reported recently but no luck.
Small flocks of RED-NECKED PHALAROPES flitter by and we come
to an area where SOOTY SHEARWATERS stream by. As we move across
the bay these are joined by good numbers of PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS
along with a few newly arrived BULLER'S SHEARWATERS.
leave the bay and head west to find a trio of HUMPBACK WHALES, then
start heading NW so that when the wind picks up later we can turn
around and have it at our backs. We get the chum going and soon have
a nice flock of gulls in tow - WESTERNS, CALIFORNIA
and HEERMANN'S. A few ELEGANT TERNS cruise by to see
what all the excitement is about as do many BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES
and a dozen SABINE'S GULLS.
We have a dozen POMARINE JAEGERS for the day but only a couple
of PARASITICS. Alcids are scarce for the most part, we see
only a handful of RHINOCEROS AUKLETS but many father/chick
pairs of COMMON MURRES . We cross back with the wind at our
back to Pt. Joe to look again for Horned Puffins. Enroute we find
a snoozing male ELEPHANT SEAL bottling at the surface. In the kelp
forests off Pebble Beach we find many SOUTHERN SEA OTTERS anchored
but no puffins . We round Pt. Pinos still searching along the rocky
shoreline and before we know it we're back at the dock.
For additional photos, see Jeff
Poklen's photo gallery for this trip.
Roger Wolfe for Monterey