Monterey Bay seabirds and the humpback whales at Moss Landing put on a great show for our September 5, 2015 pelagic trip. Shearwater Journeys' trip headed into Santa Cruz County where many trips do not venture and found some great birds! Highlights included a JAEGER GRAND SLAM: POMARINE, PARASITIC, LONG-TAILED & SOUTH POLAR SKUA; EIGHT SPECIES OF TUBENOSES; COMMON TERNS; SABINE'S GULLS; and 52 HUMPBACK WHALES!
SUNRISE at the Monterey Bay harbor.
A female SEA OTTER, eating a clam breakfast.
We know she is a female because her nose is red.
Males bite the females on the nose when mating.
A COMMON MURRE preens in the harbor.
It is quite unusual to see murres in the harbor and standing on jetties.
There has been a huge die-off of murres, causes unknown, so far.
ELEGANT TERN, one of the inshore species of birds that we search for.
A father murre with his chick.
We saw huge nursery schools on the Santa Cruz side of the bay, as is common at this time of year.
PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER, above.
ELEGANT TERNS are followed by their begging chicks all the way from Southern California where they nested this year.
LONG-BEAKED COMMON DOLPHINS put on a show.
In total, we saw some 52 HUMPBACK WHALES, but this whale above, kept surfacing in a huge kelp patty. That's kelp hanging off the tail flukes!
COMMON TERNS have been relatively scarce this season.
So, it was great to see this one, above.
They must be migrating further offshore this year.
BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS numbers usually drop off during September,
but we had a good show with 31.
Many seabirds fly right up the wake.
NORTHERN/PACIFIC FULMAR, above and below.
PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS are great followers at sea.
Give that RED PHALAROPE a surfboard!
We had some great comparison moments of both RED-NECKED, lower left, and RED PHALAROPES, upper right.
A single SOUTH POLAR SKUA put on a great show!
The ultimate bully of the sea, SOUTH POLAR SKUAS have been thin this year.
The dainty and beautiful, SABINE'S GULL.
SOUTH POLAR SKUA, cruising around our boat.
POMARINE JAEGER harassing gulls.
We had a JAEGER GRAND SLAM: POMARINE, PARASITIC & LONG-TAILED!
Jaegers will also chase COMMON TERNS.
BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS flying effortlessly using dynamic soaring.
PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER, showing its pink feet!
Heading off to Santa Cruz County.
Many thanks to all of the participants who joined us from near and far —birders from Germany, Australia, England who ticked 10-15 life birds — and, from Lois Goldfrank, leader of the Santa Cruz birders who ticked some new county birds and even a life bird, or two. It was a banner day for County Birder! Even though the marine forecast was not the best, we made a good trip out of it by heading straight to Moss Landing where the HUMPBACK WHALE SHOW and STREAMING SOOTY SHEARWATERS, continue. After that, we followed the 50 - 100 fathom line north into Santa Cruz County, hiding in the lee of the Santa Cruz Mountains for protection from the northwest wind. All in all a great day!
It takes a team to pull off such a great day. Leaders on this day were: TIM MILLER, CLAY KEMPF, NICK LEVENDOSKY, JENNIFER GREEN, MEL PRESTON, ALEX RINKERT, DEBI SHEARAWATER.
THE COMPLETE SPECIES LIST FOR SHEARWATER JOURNEYS' SEPTEMBER 5, 2015 TRIP FOLLOWS:
MONTEREY/SANTA CRUZ COUNTIES/TOTAL:
COMMON LOON- 1/1/2
BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS- 6/25/31
NORTHERN FULMAR- 18/12/30
PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER- 400/50/450
BULLER'S SHEARWATER- 0/2/2
SOOTY SHEARWATER- 850/150/1000
BLACK-VENTED SHEARWATER- 35/0/35
WILSON'S STORM-PETREL- 0/2/2
ASHY STORM-PETREL- 7/19/26- most of the storm-petrels were found in 50-70 fathoms which is unusual. I think these are "scouts."
BROWN PELICAN- 30/4/34
BRANDT'S CORMORANT- 1055/9/1064
PELAGIC CORMORANT- 4/0/4
BLACK TURNSTONE- 11/0/11
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE- 100/70/170
RED PHALAROPE- 7/15/22
SOUTH POLAR SKUA- 0/1/1
POMARINE JAEGER- 6/4/10
PARASITIC JAEGER- 5/1/6
LONG-TAILED JAEGER- 0/1/1
HEERMANN'S GULL- 50/0/50
CALIFORNIA GULL- 150/20/170
WESTERN GULL- 200/60/260
SABINE'S GULL- 0/3/3
ELEGANT TERN- 130/0/130
COMMON TERN- 7/4/11
COMMON MURRE- 2500/560/3060- many dad/chick pairs
CASSIN'S AUKLET- 1/0/1
RHINOCEROS AUKLET- 9/15/24
GREAT EGRET- 7/0/7
SNOWY EGRET- 1/0/1
CALIFORNIA SEA LION- 255
HARBOR SEAL- 1
HUMPBACK WHALE- 52
LONG-BEAKED COMMON DOLPHIN- 60
RISSO'S DOLPHIN- 6
OCEAN SUNFISH- 5
EGG YOLK JELLIES=+
MOON JELLIES- +
UPCOMING TRIPS FROM MONTEREY:
SEPTEMBER 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 16, 25, 26, 27, 28
OCTOBER 3, 10
UPCOMING TRIPS FROM HALF MOON BAY:
SEPTEMBER 20 (limited spaces open)
OCTOBER 4, 11
GREAT WHITE SHARK SEARCH:
OCTOBER 18 departing from SAUSALITO
THEY'RE OUT THERE!!!
LIVING THE SALT LIFE,
All images, Copyright, JEFF BLEAM.
Please do not use without permission.