Monterey Seabirds
August 24, 2013 Seabird Cruise Trip Report


Saturday August 24, 2013

We set out aboard the Pt. Sur Clipper on a beautiful day with a hopes of hitting a warm water break that was supposed to be about 20+ miles off Pt. Pinos. Warm water increases the chance of seeing something from out of the area because the temperature often brings with it a food source that the birds find irresistible.

Our expert spotters included Alex Rinkert, Don Roberson, Matthew Dodder, and Blake Matheson. We had Mike Merlo as our skipper and Everrett Robinson as our deckhand. Still, I think everyone would agree that the signs were auspicious when we found out that we'd have Richard Ternullo sitting in the cabin for the first time in quite a while. All in all, we were very well staffed for a good day on the bay.

The weather was mostly sunny with a few distant fog banks giving the sky a little overcast quality now and then. For the most part, the visibility was great.

Like always, we worked our way along the coast guard jetty picking up black turnstones and surfbirds here and there. The biggest surprise here was an out of place northern elephant-seal that looked like it just couldn't figure out why the sea lions weren't being cooperative.

We stayed just outside the kelp line while spotting pigeon guillemots and common murres until we moved past the point and out into open waters.

We followed the rim of the Monterey Canyon for a while and then headed west-southwest to where the warm waters were supposed to be. 24 miles later we finally hit warmer water--1 degree warmer! That's life on the ocean for you. Ultimately though, the sea didn't fail us, and we ended up with good numbers of black-footed albatross, Buller's shearwater, and rhino auklet. Best of all, the goal bird for many of our visitors was covered when we got the first of 5 South Polar skuas to complete the skua slam for the day. Not a bad day for cetaceans either: blue whale, humpback whale, harbor porpoise, Risso's dolphin, Pacific white-sided dolphin, and northern right-whale dolphin.

Birds observed:
    Black-footed Albatross
Pink-footed Shearwater
Buller's Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater
Brandt's Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Brown Pelican
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Black Turnstone
Red-necked Phalarope
Red Phalarope

      Sabine's Gull
Heermann's Gull
Western Gull
California Gull
Elegant Tern
South Polar Skua
Pomarine Jaeger
Parasitic Jaeger
Long-tailed Jaeger
Common Murre
Pigeon Guillemot
Cassin's Auklet
Rhinoceros Auklet
Belted Kingfisher

For photos, see our the Monterey Seabirds Facebook page.

Tim Amaral for Monterey Seabirds


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Last updated Sept. 2, 2013