Monterey Seabirds
May 8, 2010 Seabird Cruise Trip Report


Saturday May 8, 2010

Laysan Albatross, photo by Tom GreyPacific White-sided Dolphin, photo by Martijn VerdoesThe trip highlight happened before we even left the dock. Our beloved skipper Richard Ternullo was back behind the wheel for the first time since late September. He has undergone chemo and radiation for cancer and all of us board were very happy to have him back in action again.

Today the weather was cooperative so we took the opportunity to head west out to the 1500 fathom spot in the Monterey Sea Canyon. We sought deep water and wind in hopes of seeing some pterodromas that have been reported offshore by research vessels recently. No luck with that unfortunately.

We did see some interesting things that I don't remember seeing before such as the tight flocks of phalaropes. Inshore they were nearly all RED-NECKED PHALAROPES but as we got farther out they were all RED PHALAROPES. They were all rafted up like shearwaters. Iím guessing that they consisted of as many as 50-75 birds. It was neat to see them on the water, then taking flight.

Best bird was the LAYSAN ALBATROSS we found 3.25 NM WSW of Cypress Point. Martijn Verdoes and Glen Tepke spotted a BLACK TERN that got away before anyone else got on it.

Also noteworthy was the largest pod of NORTHERN RIGHT WHALE DOLPHINS I've seen yet. At one point they changed direction at a high rate of speed and for a minute we thought we might see an Orca in pursuit but it was likely due to a change in direction of their prey item. When they want they can really put on the speed. A few PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHINS were mixed in with them.

Don Roberson put in these reports for our trip on eBird:

Location: Monterey Seavalley pelagic (Monterey Co.)
Observation date: 5/8/10
Notes: Monterey Seabirds trip with R. Ternullo, skipper, also Mike Johns; with Roger Wolfe, Dan Singer, Tim Amaral, Bruce Elliott; Bill Bousman, Jeff Poklen, Glen Tepke, Martijn Verdoes, Marcel Holyoak, Kenneth Peterson, Tom Grey et al. Although advertised as a standard Mty Bay trip, the weather was sunny and wind not too strong (Bft 2-3 in a.m.) so we went straight WSW from Pt. Pinos to the 1500m line ~22 nmi off Cypress Pt. (where it got pretty windy), and return with the wind. At least a dozen Humpback Whale, maybe more, plus huge pods of P. White-sided & N. Right whale Dolphin (phs). This checklist excludes inshore species (<1nmi shore; q.v.) and is my estimates only (DR). I missed Bonaparte's Gull, Black Tern, Cassin's Auklet & hummingbird seen by others.
Number of species:


Brant (Black) 40  
  Pacific Loon   12   Most in alt pl
  Laysan Albatross   1   3.25 nmi WSW of Cypress Pt.; photos
  Black-footed Albatross   120   Up to 28 sitting around the boat at one point ~6nmi offshore, but had many with us all day. This is a fair, maybe conservative, estimate
  Northern Fulmar   1   Light morph, well offshore
  Pink-footed Shearwater   150    
  Sooty Shearwater   1000    
  Red-necked Phalarope   20000   Many large flocks migrating 1-6 nmi offshore, and outnumbered Reds 10:1 on trip (estimate) so see below. This is a conversion of that figure.
  Red Phalarope   2000   Huge flock that I estimated at 1500 at convergence line ~13 nmi offshore, in mixture of plumages from basic to full alt., but most towards alt pl. Others on return trip, so conservative estimate. Photos.
  Sabine's Gull   2   Both likely adults; one close seen on return (missed by me) was certainly so
  Western Gull   300    
  California Gull   30   Adult with full tail
  Pomarine Jaeger   1    
  Common Murre   10    
  Rhinoceros Auklet   12    
This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(
Location: Monterey Bay pelagic--inshore Monterey Harbor to Pt. Pinos
Observation date: 5/8/10
Notes: inshore portion of Mty Seabirds trip this date; see other checklist for offshore list
Number of species:


  Surf Scoter   1    
  Pacific Loon   3    
  Common Loon   3    
  Brown Pelican   5    
  Brandt's Cormorant   250    
  Pelagic Cormorant   15    
  Western Gull   200    
  California Gull   15    
  Common Murre   2    
  Pigeon Guillemot   10    
  Rock Pigeon   5    
  Barn Swallow   1    

Roger Wolfe for Monterey Seabirds

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Last updated May 13, 2010