Monterey Seabirds
September 5, 2009 Seabird Cruise Trip Report


Saturday September 5, 2009

This charter for the Santa Cruz Bird Club was special in a couple of ways. Firstly it was a real pleasure to have so many friends from the bird club on board. In that many of us are familiar with one another from prior land based field trips, club meetings and carpools there was a neat feeling of being among friends, a sense of camaraderie. The other special thing was the price. With the charter, members laid out all of $66 per person!

The darned northwest winds have been persistent the last couple of weeks but they abated and made for greasy calm conditions that were conducive to finding the storm-petrel flocks. We made a beeline for the county line and crossed over into Santa Cruz County around 9am in the vicinity of Soquel Canyon. We headed for the Hump where we began seeing both BLACK and ASHY STORM-PETRELS. In the vicinity of Cabrillo Canyon we found the area where the Ashies were rafting up and everyone got to see the flocks. Spotter Rod Norden recounted how the number of storm-petrels we were seeing was a mere fraction of what he recalled from the eighties.

Ashy Storm-petrels, photo by Wendy Naruo

We also had some gripping views of a COMMON TERN that circled the boat for several minutes.

Interestingly the deluge of Long-tailed Jaegers we'd been seeing the last few weeks was shut off. We did not see a single LTJA on the day.

And for the second trip in a row we had a difficult time finding any BULLER'S SHEARWATERS except for a single unhealthy looking bird that sat on the water and scarcely moved. Strange.

Northern Right Whale Dolphin, photo by Wendy NaruonMarine mammal highlight was the pair of BLUE WHALES we crossed paths with off of Pt. Pinos on the way back to the dock. We also had some awesome looks at NORTHERN RIGHT WHALE DOLPHINS riding our bow and they had some awesome looks at us as well.

As we passed Pt. Pinos the top of the kelp canopy was covered with at least a thousand ELEGANT TERNS.

In all we covered 63.7 miles of water.

Thanks to SCBC field trip leaders Steve Gerow, Bob Ramer, Rod Norden and Phil Brown for spotting and to Alex Rinkert for chumming.

Photos in the trip report are by SCBC member Wendy Naruo on her second pelagic trip.

Species seen:

      Monterey / Santa Cruz Counties
      Black-footed Albatross      12/42
  Northern Fulmar   7/10
  Pink-footed Shearwater   20/15
  Bullerís Shearwater   1/0
  Sooty Shearwater   275/250
  Ashy Storm-Petrel   5/2500
  Black Storm-Petrel   0/15
  Brown Pelican   20/8
  Brandtís Cormorant   200/0
  Pelagic Cormorant   4/0
  Red Phalarope   1/4
  Red-necked Phalarope   60/36
  Sabine's Gull   25/12
  Heermann's Gull   75/60
  Western Gull   50/20
  California Gull   40/25
  Common Tern   0/1
  Elegant Tern   1000/0
  Pomarine Jaeger   10/ 9
  Parasitic Jaeger   5/2
  jaeger sp.   2/2
  Common Murre   40/90
  Pigeon Guillemot   3/0
  Cassin's Auklet   12/10
  Rhinoceros Auklet   30/20
  Black Turnstone   4/0
  Kingfisher   1/0

Marine Mammals

      Sea Otter
  California Sea Lion
  Northern Fur Seal
  Harbor Seal
  Humpback Whale
  Blue Whale
  Harbor Porpoise
  Pacific White-sided Dolphin
  Northern Right Whale Dolphin

Click to see Google Earth image of track See the Google Earth image showing locations of points along the track in red and county boundaries in white (opens in new window).

Roger Wolfe for Monterey Seabirds


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Photos copyright © 2009 Wendy Naruo, all rights reserved.

Last updated September 9, 2009