Monterey Seabirds
September 26, 2009 Seabird Cruise Trip Report


Saturday September 26, 2009 - Sacramento Audubon Group Charter Seabird Cruise

Tufted Puffin photo by Daniel Lee BrownPink-footed Shearwater photo by Daniel Lee BrownOur boatload of Sacramento birders scared the morning fog away, making for a lovely day on the Monterey Bay. This was a charter for Sac Audubon and participants ended up paying $66 per person. I really enjoy the charters as everyone is already acquainted with one another from prior outings in the field and there is a friendly feeling on the boat.

We headed for Soquel Canyon and the area where we saw Killer Whales last weekend. On the way we found an area thick with birds sitting on the water. We were thinking kill but the reality was krill. We got a request from a 7th grade teacher on board for some krill. Our skipper Mike Johns procured the krill net that we set adrift at our stern for a few minutes and I brought it up stuffed with krill. Everyone got to see the little euphausiids that have a biomass twice that of humans. But what is this weird yellow stuff in the net? That would be popcorn from our chum being dispensed by Associate Editor of Birding Magazine Noah Stryker and his friend Natalya from Colombia.

Seabird highlights were a FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER and a TUFTED PUFFIN that circled the boat several times in flight. Todd Easterla spotted a SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER and we also had a few sightings of BLACK-VENTED SHEARWATERS.

Strangest bird was the female GREEN-WINGED TEAL that landed amongst the gulls. We all told Natalya from Colombia that this was a really strange place to get her life GWTE!

The Google map below is an approximation of the route, as I fouled up something with my hand held GPS.

Species totals for
Monterey County/Santa Cruz County
   Northern Pintail 0/7    
  Green-winged Teal 0/1      
  Peregrine Falcon 1/0   harbor
  Merlin 2/0   harbor
  Northern Fulmar 0/2    
  Surf Scoter 25/0    
  Pacific Loon 3    
  Black-footed Albatross 5/5    
  Northern Fulmar 3/1    
  Pink-footed Shearwater 48/45    
  Flesh-footed Shearwater 0/1    
  Buller's Shearwater 2/2    
  Sooty Shearwater 180/90    
  Short-tailed Shearwater 1/0    
  Ashy Storm-Petrel 12/40    
  Black Storm-petrel 0/1    
  Brandt's Cormorant 30/5    
  Red-necked Phalarope 60/40    
  Sabine's Gull 1/0    
  Heermann's Gull 90/40    
  Western Gull 325/135    
  California Gull 200/55    
  Common Tern 1/0    
  Pomarine Jaeger 6/4    
  Parasitic Jaeger 3/1    
  Common Murre 70/400    
  Cassin's Auklet 5/5    
  Rhinoceros Auklet 60/125    
  Tufted Puffin 0/1    
Marine Mammals
  Humpback Whale      
  Risso's Dolphin      
  Long-beaked Common Dolphin      
  Harbor Seal      
  California Sea Lion      
  Elephant Seal      
  Sea Otter      

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

See Dan Brown's photo gallery of this trip

Roger Wolfe for Monterey Seabirds


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Last updated September 30, 2009