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
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.
Great Blue Heron
|| Sabine's Gull
South Polar Skua
For photos, see our the Monterey
Seabirds Facebook page.
Tim Amaral for Monterey