Tuesday, July 22, 2014

DADS TAKE THEIR CHICKS TO SEA: JULY 20 HALF MOON BAY PELAGIC TRIP REPORT

This is a trip report for Shearwater Journeys's July 20, 2014 pelagic trip departing from Half Moon Bay. Highlights and surprises included: BLACK-VENTED and FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATERS; LEACH'S STORM-PETREL; SABINE'S GULL and CRAVERI'S MURRELETS. Offshore conditions were excellent with flat-calm seas for nearly the entire 11+ hour ocean trip where we headed at least 22 miles offshore. Our trip was rounded out with some of the more expected early fall seabirds, and of course, HUMPBACK WHALES. We encountered a lot of OCEAN SUNFISH, and for the first time in almost a decade, we saw many of the delightful BY-THE-WIND-SAILORS. We covered both San Mateo and San Francisco Counties. 
COMMON MURRE: DAD & CHICK, below. 
Image by Beth Hamel, copyright. 
 
This is the time of year when we see many pairs of "Dads & Chicks" — the father COMMON MURRE takes the newly fledged chick out to sea and cares for it for about 10 weeks. They stay together, the chick making a whistling call to the day who returns a guttural call back. 


Funny thing— I realized that we had some "Dads & Chick Birder Pairs" on board!
One of four pairs of "Dads & Chicks" enjoying marine life on Shearwater Journeys's trip. 
This young man ticked off 14 Life Birds! 
Birding begins right in the harbor! We could easily spend hours here! 
WESTERN GULL chicks, above.
Image by Jim Holmes, copyright. 
Just outside of the harbor, we search for the Federally Endangered MARBLED MURRELET, above and below. Images by Beth Hamel, copyright.
At this time of year, they are still in their cryptic alternate, or breeding plumage. 
This tiny alcid, the size of one's hand, breeds deep in the redwood forests. 
 
Turning offshore, I was surprised and thrilled to encounter the beautiful BY-THE-WIND-SAILOR, below. We have not found this delightful little hydrozoan for nearly a decade. 
Image, below, copyright, Beth Hamel. 
BY-THE-WIND-SAILORS are small relatives of the Portuguese Man-of-War. They can carpet the sea at times, almost seeming as if it were possible to "walk on water" on top of them. 
It wasn't long before we encountered the first os seven pairs of CRAVERI'S MURRELETS, below. 
This fly-away view is more typical. However, we can see their very dark backs. These southern breeders have not been reliably reported in central California for many years, possibly a decade. 
Image, copyright, Beth Hamel. 
Usually, we encounter the first BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS once we get over the Continental Shelf. However, the first of 235 albatrosses appeared in only 30-50 fathoms on this day. 
 We headed to a fishing vessel that was pulling its' net, below. 
We counted more than 100 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES sitting on the water around this vessel. Look behind the vessel in this image, and you'll see two of these albatrosses. Raft of Black-footed Albatrosses above, copyright, Beth Hamel. 
A BLAKC-FOOTED ALBATROSS feeding on a Rosy Rockfish. 
Image, copyright, Beth Hamel. 
One of two presumed FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATERS, below, image copyright, Beth Hamel.
Dark morph Pink-footed Shearwaters exist and can easily be confused with Flesh-footed Shearwaters. 
Although Flesh-footed Shearwaters are more often seen from late September through October, they have been recorded every month of the year. 
 LEACH'S STORM-PETREL, below, image copyright Beth Hamel, was a real surprise. 
LEACH'S STORM-PETRELS are abundant far offshore (50-100 miles), but not nearshore (within 25 miles), which is where most one day pelagic trips go. This species is one of the most difficult to find storm-petrels on the West Coast on one day trips. 
Another one of the "Dad & Chick" pairs on this trip, this time with a "Mom," too!
The above family had studied well for this species!
Our Captain gunned the boat, chasing the Leach's Storm-Petrel so that everyone on board had great views, whether at the bow or stern of the vessel. This image by Jim Holmes was shot from the stern of the boat. 
Owing to our southerly route, we did not pass the weather buoy until we were on our way home.
Two CALIFORNIA SEA LIONS are seeking to win the "Darwin Award," having entrapped themselves inside of the buoy bars, seemingly with no way out! We'll check on them on our next trip, July 26!
 
We encountered loads of OCEAN SUNFISH in all sizes from the dinner plate size to large 4-5 footers. 
Many of the sunfish were "breaching," popping out of the water. However, we did see one albacore jump, too!
Image, below copyright Beth Hamel.
This "Dad & Chick," below, hailed form England. 
 
Back in the day — 1976 when I first began pelagic trips, leaders often identified this pair, below, as a "Common Murre and a Murrelet"! In those days, we didn't know that it was the father who took the baby murre out to sea! The chicks are noticeably smaller with smaller bills. We've learned a lot since those first years of pelagic birding, but we're still learning today. This is truly, one of the "last frontiers" of birding!
Image below, copyright Beth Hamel. 
Another "Dad with his chick" below.  Teddy made his first pelagic trip with us three years ago when he was only six years old!
 We saw a few RHINOCEROS AUKLETS, including this adult, below. 
Image copyright, Beth Hamel. 
 SANDY KOMITO & DEBI SHEARWATER, best of buds, below!
SANDY KOMITO of The Big Year fame, did his first West Coast pelagic trips with Shearwater Journeys in 1985! Talk about repeat clients — many return year after year with us! Sandy rarely ticks a pelagic Life Bird, or any new bird for North America. However, he did see a Lifer Hawaiian Petrel which Debi spotted on the August 2, 2013 Monterey Bay pelagic trip!

Drawing on many sources, I made a Plan A for the day's route the night prior. One of the many resources that I use is TERRAFIN's SST (Sea Surface Temperature) charts. In the chart above, the purple route represents, roughly, where we went on this day. We traveled further south than we usually do. Calm seas made that possible. The areas of white on the chart were areas that were covered with fog, preventing a satellite temperature reading. Terrafin is available to anyone, for a subscriber fee. Charts used with express permission from Terrafin.
For most of the day, the SST was between 59.8-61F. We went southwest to about 18 miles off Pescadero, and then up to the Pioneer Canyon, and home. 
BETH HAMEL, photographer, above. 
Our day was completed with views of HUMPBACK WHALES.
Images above and below, copyright Jim Holmes. 
So ended a FABULOUS FIRST TRIP OF THE SEASON!
Our next trips departing from HALF MOON BAY with spaces available are:
JULY 26; AUGUST 2, 16, 17, 23; SEPTEMBER 7, 8, 15, 21, 24; OCTOBER 5, 12.
We thank all the folks who came from near and far to join our trip on this day.
The leaders on this trip were: PETER PYLE, JIM HOLMES, AL DE MARTINI & DEBI SHEARWATER.
THE COMPLETE SPECIES LIST FOR 20 JULY SHEARWATER JOURNEYS, HALF MOON BAY FOLLOWS: 
SAN MATEO/SAN FRANCISCO COUNTIES/HARBOR:
RED-THROATED LOON- 15/1/0
WESTERN GREBE- 20/0
BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS- 195/40
NORTHERN FULMAR- 2/0
PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER- 495/110
FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER- 2/0
SOOTY SHEARWATER- 1380/20
BLACK-VENTED SHEARWATER- 3/0
LEACH'S STORM-PETREL- 0/1
ASHY STORM-PETREL- 2/2
BROWN PELICAN- 175/0/600
BRANDT'S CORMORANT- 10/0/6
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT- 1/0/75
PELAGIC CORMORANT- 4/0
SURF SCOTER- 1 in the harbor
BLACK OYSTERCATCHER- 4, in the harbor
BLACK TURNSTONE- 4, in the harbor
SURFBIRD- 8, in the harbor
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE- 390/60
POMARINE JAEGER- 1/0
JAEGER SP.- 5/0
HEERMANN'S GULL- 100/0/25
CALIFORNIA GULL- 120/5
WESTERN GULL- 430/20/145
SABINE'S GULL- 3/0
ELEGANT TERN- 8/0/1200 
CASPIAN TERN- 1, in the harbor
COMMON MURRE- 500/1/2
PIGEON GUILLEMOT- 4/0/20
MARBLED MURRELET- 5/2
CASSIN'S AUKLET- 8/0
RHINOCEROS AUKLET- 11/1
CALIFORNIA SEA LION- 25
STELLER'S SEA LION- 1
NORTHERN FUR SEAL- 1
HARBOR SEAL- 1
HUMPBACK WHALE- 10
BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN- 6, just outside of the harbor
HARBOR PORPOISE- 8, just outside of the harbor
DALL'S PORPOISE- 5
OCEAN SUNFISH- 38
ALBACORE (tuna) -1, jumping
BY-THE-WIND-SAILORS- +++
MOON JELLIES- 12
LION'S MANE JELLY- 2
HOPE TO SEE YOU OUT THERE!
SHEARWATERS FOREVER,
DEBI SHEARWATER




Tuesday, July 15, 2014

OUR LEADERS

LEADERS, GUEST LEADERS & CHUMMERS

Passionate, Knowledgable, Friendly & most of all, FUN!
A small portion of a flock of SOOTY SHEARWATERS!
It's messy out there!
It helps to have a leader, or two, or three!
Shearwater Journeys is proud of our assemblage of leaders, many of whom have worked with us for decades. All leaders are volunteers. They LOVE to find seabirds and share their knowledge with you. Our leaders are chosen for their friendliness as much as their knowledge. They are approachable and love to answer your questions, whether you are a beginner sea or advanced sea birder. Many of them have "regular" jobs not only in the biological field, but also in education and seabird conservation. Some are award-winning educators. Our leaders have written and illustrated many field guides. Of course, there's nothing more exciting for a leader than spotting a mega-rare seabird, but their first job is spotting all of the normally occurring seabirds (and marine mammals). This is why you'll notice that the leader often does not make eye contact with you during a conversation. Her eyes are focused on the horizon and seabirds! Make no mistake about that! 

STEVE N. G. HOWELL, above, will be co-leading the SEP. 1 & 19 CORDELL BANK & BODEGA CANYON trips. 
STEVE N. G. HOWELL is an acclaimed field ornithologist and prolific writer. He is an international bird tour leader with WINGS and a research associate at Point Blue Conservation Science in California. His books include Petrels, Albatross & Storm-Petrels of North America (2012), the Peterson Reference Guide to Molt in North American Birds (2010), Hummingbirds of North America (2002), A Bird-finding Guide to Mexico (1999), and A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America (with Sophie Webb). He is a world renowned expert on seabirds, and has spent over four years of his life at sea and encountered over 95% of the world's tubenoses. Interests beyond birds include butterflies, tequila and chocolate. He has a wicked sense of humor. Steve has been a leader with Shearwater Journeys for many decades.
STEVE ROTTENBORN, Ph. D., above, will be co-leading: HALF MOON BAY: AUG. 17 & SEP. 21.
Steve is an avian ecologist and wildlife biologist who has built an impressive professional career that is highlighted by a particular interest in wetland and riparian communities. He has contributed to 400 projects involving wildlife impact assessments. He has also conducted studies of shorebird use of agricultural fields, an assessment of habitat associations and population dynamics of colonially nesting birds, and a study of partitioning among members of an oak woodland foraging guild. Steve is a Principal at H.T. Harvey & Associates, Ecological Consultants. He has a Ph.D. from Stanford Univeristy and a B.S. from the College of William and Mary. 
TODD MCGRATH, above, will be co-leading the HALF MOON BAY, JULY 26th trip
Todd is a very popular bi-coastal pelagic trip leader. He is the co-author of the 2005 monograph Pelagic Birding in the Southern California Bight and the 2010 scientific paper, The Occurrence and Identification of Leach's Storm-Petrels off Southern California. He is extremely knowledgable about identification, status and distribution of marine mammals as well. Now, residing in Texas, he still manages to fit pelagic birding trips in on both the East and West coasts, including Southern California. Todd is an excellent photographer who has traveled to Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands with Shearwater Journeys. He has been a leader with Shearwater Journeys for many decades. 
SCOTT TERRILL, Ph. D. will be teaching a workshop, "Pelagic Bird Identification" for the Monterey Bay Birding Festival on Thursday, September 25; 3:30 - 5 p.m.
Scott is an internationally recognized ornithologist with extensive experience in avian ecology and behavior; he has made major contributions to the study of bird migration and movements. 
Scott is a Vice President and Principal at H.T. Harvey & Associates, Ecological Consultants. He has a Ph.D. from the Stte University of New York, an M.S. and B.S. from Arizona State University. He was an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Behavioral Physiology in Germany. He served as Director for the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory for a decade, as well as serving 12 years on the California Rare Birds Records Committee. Highly qualified and completely down to earth, Scott has tremendous patience in explaining any aspect of ecology. 
Scott & Linda Terrill will be co-leading the following trips: HALF MOON BAY: JULY 26; AUG. 2, 16, 23; OCT. 12; MONTEREY: AUG. 22 (Scott), SEP. 6, 13 (Albacore), 26.
Scott & Linda served as leaders on Shearwater Journeys's charter voyage to Antarctica, South Georgia, the Falkland Islands and Weddell Sea, 2010. 
LINDA TERRILL, above. 
Linda is a life long birder and keen seabirider who has developed a strong interest in botany and photographing plants. She has been leading pelagic trips with Shearwater Journeys for nearly three decades. Together with her husband, Scott, they have observed seabirds off Alaska, New England, North Carolina, Florida, and west Mexico. Linda was an on board naturalist on Shearwater Journeys's 2010 charter Antarctica, South Georgia, Falkland Islands and Weddell Sea voyage. Linda has a bachelor's degree from Purdue University.  There is no place in the world Linda would rather be than on the bow of a boat — any boat! Her enthusiasm and eagerness to share the natural world with others is infectious.

BRIAN SULLIVAN, above, is an eBird Project Leader at Cornell Lab of Ornithology and photographic editor for the Birds of North America Online at the Lab. eBird is rapidly becoming the worldwide depository for bird data and conservation. Brian has written and consulted on various books, popular, and scientific literature on North American birds, and is co-author on The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors, and the forthcoming Princeton Guide to North American Birds. He has conducted fieldwork on birds throughout North America for the past 20 years. Brian has a passion for seabirds which has led him to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. Other birding travels have taken hi to Central and South America, and to the Arctic. He is a keen photographer and frequent speaker at bird festivals, and other birding events. His pelagic schedule for 2014 is flexible to allow for time with his family. 

STEVE HAMPTON, Ph. D, above, will be co-leading the following trips: HALF MOON BAY: SEP. 7, 15, 21, 24; OCT. 5, 12.
Steve works for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife where he assesses injuries from oil spills and implements restoration projects in their aftermath. He has been involved in projects benefiting a wide range of California's seabirds from Marbled Murrelets in the Santa Cruz Mountains to Rhinoceros Auklets on the Farallon Islands to Cassin's Auklets in Mexico and Sooty Shearwaters in New Zealand. He has been birding since he was seven years old, has a passion for gull identification and a Ph. D. in Resource Economics. He is extremely knowledgeable and approachable. Ask him how the current breeding season for Marbled Murrelets is going locally!

TIM MILLER, above and below, is an all around naturalist who grew up in Pennsylvania, but moved to Santa Cruz, California five years ago. He is an graduate student and the University of California, Santa Cruz.  Tim specializes in birds, plants, herps and pollinating insects. He is currently teaching a class on plant taxonomy at UCSC. He is doing fieldwork in Colorado, but will return for the fall pelagic season soon. 

PETER PYLE, below, will be co-leading the following trips: HALF MOON BAY: JULY 20; FARALLON ISLANDS: AUG. 3 (SOLD OUT); BODEGA BAY: SEP. 19
Peter is a staff biologist at the Institute for Bird Populations (IBP), where he has worked since 1996. Formerly, he was a biologist at Point Reyes Bird Observatory. He is a great white shark expert who has developed a new interest in bats. With a couple friends, he is hoping to set a North American Mammal Big Day on the August 3, 2014 Farallon Island trip! Peter has an extremely keen interest in seabirds and has taught three IFO workshops (Institute for Field Ornithology) with Debi Shearwater for the ABA (American Birding Association). 
Peter attended Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania during the 1970's while also working seasonally on the Hawaii and other Pacific Forest Bird Surveys. He first worked for Dave DeSante in 1980 when he did internships for PRBO's Palomarin and Farallon Island Landbird Program. In 1985 Peter became a biologist of the Farallon Islands, a post which he held until 2003. From 1996-2003, Peter split time between PRBO and IBP. Since 2003, he has been a full-time biologist at IBP, doing scientific research, writing reports and conducting bird banding workshops. Peter is also a Research Associate at the California Academy of Sciences and the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. He has authored or co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed papers, four books, and an on-line monograph of the Birds of Hawaii. Among bird bankers he is best known for his Identification Guide to North American Birds, Parts 1 and 2, which includes detailed criteria for aging and sexing all North American birds in the hand and the field. In 2011 he had the good fortune of describing a new species of seabird, BRYAN'S SHEARWATER, naming it after his grandfather. He has been a leader with Shearwater Journeys for many decades. 

STEVE TUCKER, below, will be co-leading the following trips: HALF MOON BAY: JULY 26, AUG. 17 & 23, SEP. 7, OCT. 5 & 12 and the SEP. 19 CORDELL BANK & BODEGA CANYON.
Steve Tucker is a seasoned biologist who has spent much of the last 20 years birding obsessively. He is inspired by all birdlife, but has always held seabirds in especially high esteem. He has crossed whiskers with Whiskered Auklet, lounged among albatross in the shade for a noon siesta, and had the privilege of having an impossibly small Ancient Murrelet chick leap over his foot on it's daunting journey to the sea. Currently residing in Oakland, CA, he is grateful to be living a stone's throw from some of the best seabirding destinations in the country. Getting to see the joy on a birder's face when they get a life bird never gets old for him, and he hopes (and expects!) to see that a lot on our trips in 2014. Steve really wants to find you a Hawaiian Petrel this year, although any Pterodroma will make us all happy. He blogs regularly about all things birding at Bourbon, Bastards, and Birds.

JIM HOLMES, above, will be co-leading: HALF MOON BAY: JULY 20; AUG. 16; SEP. 24 trips.
Jim is an Emergency Medicine physician at the UC Davis School of Medicine in Sacramento, California. He currently works in the UC Davis Medical Center Emergency Department, one of the busiest trauma centers in the United States. His academic interests are primarily focused on training junior investigators  in research methodology and studying the initial evaluation and treatment of children. 
Jim began birding at the age of 12 around his hometown of Mandeville, Louisiana. Despite growing up  along the Gulf Coast of the USA, he developed a love for seabirds following his first pelagic birding trip with Shearwater Journeys, September 1988. In 1994, he moved to California and has subsequently made many pelagic trips off the California coast. Jim also enjoys world birding and has spent may days at sea off Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands, Micronesia, Japan and Hawaii. He incorporates his medical career with his birding hobby by serving as expedition ship physician. He has also authored a paper on the medical requirements of passengers on expedition ships to Antarctica. He will serve as the ship physician on Shearwater Journeys's Birding Down Under Voyage, November 2014

CLAY KEMPF, below, AKA, Lt. Jaeger, affectionately known as "Lieutenant Jaeger," although some think that stands for "Long-tailed Jaeger."
Clay is Excecutive Director of the Seniors Council, a non-profit senior service organization operating in Santa Cruz, San Benito, Monterey and Santa Clara Counties. He has served as the president of numerous state and regional organizations, receiving a variety of accolades, especially in the areas of collaboration and specialized transportation. 
Clay really enjoys helping new birders improve their identification skills, but tries to remind birders of all skill levels to chrish and enjoy the grandeur of nature, be it the discovery of a mega-rarity, the spectacle of 100,000 Sooty Shearwaters filling the seas, or the simple beauty of a breeding Rhinoceros Auklet in perfect light. He has been co-leading trips with Shearwater Journeys for many decades. 

RICK FOURNIER, below, will be co-leading the following MONTEREY trips; AUG. 1, 8, 22; SEP. 5, 9, 28; OCT. 11. 
Rick has been an avid birder for over 30 years and has a full appreciation for all aspects of nature. For the past 19 years, he has owned and operated Monterey Birding Adventures, leading personalized and small group tours specializing in Central California and beyond. Rick leads field trips for local Audubon chapters and the Santa Cruz Bird Club. He has conducted extensive avian wetland monitoring of Elkhorn Slough for Moss Landing Marine Labs and the Elkhorn Slough Foundation. As a past bird banding associate for the Big Sur Ornithology Lab, he spent nearly 5 years working with their mist net program, monitoring avian productivity and survivorship of resident and neotropical migrants. 

JENNIFER GREEN, below, will be co-leading these 2014 trips: MONTEREY: AUG. 1, 8, 15, 22; SEP. 5, 11, 13, 27; Oct. 4 and HALF MOON BAY: SEP. 24 and BODEGA BAY: SEP. 19.
If you have been on a pelagic trip with Jennifer, you'll recall how she often orients everyone on the boat with her handheld chart of Monterey Bay, showing the Monterey Submarine Canyon. Jennifer has been involved with seabirds and marine mammals ever since she spotted an Atlantic Puffin near the Isle of Shoals in New Hampshire. She has traveled to many far flung regions of the Earth including the High Arctic, Antarctica, New Zealand and Australia, in search of seabirds and other wildlife, not to mention, galloping across Mongolia! When not on boat trips, or birding elsewhere, she works as an occupational therapist. 

DAVE PEREKSTA, below. 
Dave is an avian biologist for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, where he studies and analyzes the effects of offshore oil and gas, and renewable energy development on birds and bats in off the Pacific coast. Throughout his career with various Federal and State agencies, he has studied several imperiled bits species including snowy plovers, piping plovers, least terns, ospreys, northern goshawks, brown pelicans, and spotted owls. He also assisted Cornell University in their searches for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Arkansas. Dave has been an avid birder for well over 30 years. He is a pelagic trip leader for the SoCal trips and on east coast trips. He is an accomplished bird photographer, as well. 

NICK LEVENDOSKY, below, will be co-leading FARALLON ISLANDS: AUG. 3 (SOLD OUT); MONTEREY AUG. 1, SEP. 5 & 25; OCT. 4 & 11; HALF MOON BAY: SEP. 15. 
Nick  was first introduced to the idea of birding while taking a natural history and ecology course at Prescott College in 2001. Although he found this idea rather silly at first, the puzzle and game of identifying birds quickly piqued his interest and he was hooked. From that point on he has worked to transform from a casual birder to an intentional observer. Since moving back to Santa Cruz 6 years ago after obtaining a job with the San Jose Fire Department, Nicholas has devoted a significant amount of time getting into the field to "simply learn birds." He most appreciates the relationship between species and habitat — believing birding lends itself to building a sense of place and physical community around one's home. Nick has a BA in Environmental Policy with a minor in Outdoor Education. 

ABE BORKER, below, will be co-leading HALF MOON BAY ; JULY 26 and AUG. 2
Abe is a Ph.D. student and National Science Foundation Fellow at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His research involves applying automated sensors to wildlife monitoring challenges. His focus has been on the efficacy of acoustic monitoring with seabirds because they represent a highly threatened and ecologically important group. Their colonial nature, sensitivity to disturbance, secretive nesting and patterns of nocturnal attendance make them very challenging to monitor. His research could  profoundly influence seabird conservation.  
Abe is a very fun guy— just look at the charming caricature of him above!
Abe has been photographing birds for 15 years. His first pelagic trip in 2009 on Monterey Bay with Shearwater Journeys opened his eyes to the joy of watching and photographing pelagic birds. He is continually amazed by the extreme life histories of seabirds, their ecological significance, and their dire conservation status. During the fall he can be found balancing research and leading pelagic birding trips with Shearwater Journeys. In 2014, he will voyage to Antarctica during the austral winter for the second time. Click here, to see some of his splendid images of seabirds, or Trip Report, for October 2, 2011 Half Moon Bay, and Trip Report, November 22, 2011

JIM DANZENBAKER, below, will be co-leading the following trips: HALF MOON BAY: AUG. 17; SEP. 24; MONTEREY: AUG. 15; SEP. SEP. 25, 27.
Jim was born into a birding family. He grew up in southern New Jersey and was quickly introduced to birds, their breeding habits, migration patterns, and daily activities. He soon made his first pelagic trip off Virginia Beach, Virginia and has been hooked ever since. Forays off New Jersey, North Carolina, and Maine only strengthened his appreciation of all things pelagic. He moved to the west coast in 1987, and immediately became an active leader with Shearwater Journeys. He also added life birds, instantly, including HAWAIIAN and GREAT-WINGED PETRELS! Tropicbirds and the vast variety of marine life in the Monterey and Bodega Bay regions further hooked Jim. He ventured off on journeys to Antarctica and Japan. During this time, he began leading birding and wildlife tours to Guyana, Panama, Ecuador, and Venezuela for Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris. Nevertheless, he is continually drawn to seabirding most often.  Jim lives in Battle Ground, Washington, and leads pelagic trips whenever he visits the central coast of California. He has a BS in finance. Birders who travel with Jim appreciate his friendliness, enthusiasm for finding wildlife, and willingness to share information
.
LISA HUG, below, will be co-leading: BODEGA BAY: SEP. 1 & 19. 
Lisa is a popular and patient field trip leader, on land and sea. She lives in Sonoma County, California and is ver familiar with the birdlife in the North Bay Area. She works as a freelance naturalist and contract biologist. She has also worked as an interpretive Ranger for Point Reyes National Seashore, and a research assistant at Point Reyes Bird Observatory, now Point Blue. She has served as president of Redwood Regional Ornithological Society, and enjoys teaching birding classes in both Sonoma and Marin Counties. You'll have to ask Lisa about the story behind her "Shearwater Journeys" cap, below, as it is quite amazing!

SOPHIE WEBB & her super-dog, Daiya, below. Sophie will be co-leading MONTEREY:  AUG. 15.
Sophie is a biologist and artist who has been studying and painting birds all her life, from the Amazon to the Arctic and Antarctica. She is the co-author and illustrator of A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America (with Steve Howell). Recently, she illustrated forty species of marine mammals for the Field Guide to the Marine Mammals of the Pacific Coast. Sophie is an award-winning author of three children's books which she wrote and illustrated: Looking for Seabirds: Journal from an Alaskan Voyage, Far from Shore: Chronicles of an Open Ocean Voyage and My Season with Penguins: An Antarctic Journal about studying Adelie Penguins in the Antarctic where she worked for five years. Sophie loves being on the ocean, having worked at sea in the Central Pacific, Eastern Tropical Pacific, Atlantic, Antarctica, Aleutians, Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea. She is a director of Oikonos: Ecosystems Knowledge and a research associate of Point Blue Conservation Science and a part-time employee of NOAA's Southwest Fisheries Science Center

SOPHIE WEBB, below, is also an accomplished photographer. 
Forty of SOHPIE WEBB'S illustrations can be found in this new field guide.
SARAH ALLEN, below, author of the above field guide. She was a co-leader on our 2013 Farallon Islands trip, where she also help set the Mammal Big Day record for North America. 
Sarah Allen, a scientist with a federal environmental agency, has studied marine birds and mammals from the Gulf of the Farallones, California, to Antarctica. She is featured in an article, "Connecting the Dots for Pacific Marine Life," Bay Nature magazine. 

TOM JOHNSON, above and below, will be co-leading MONTEREY: SEP. 9 & 10
Tom Johnson grew up watching birds in central Pennsylvania. Interested in science and the outdoors from a young age, Tom became involved in a variety of field projects throughout his school years, including banding migrant landbirds and conducting point counts for the 2nd Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas. He was fortunate to pursue undergraduate studies in biology at Cornell University, where he became even more excited about learning about systematics and migration while surrounded by the amazing ornithologists and birders of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Since graduating from college in 2010, Tom has spent much of his time studying seabirds off the east coast of North America, conducting line transect surveys from NOAA ships between Nova Scotia and the Bahamas. When he's not offshore, he loves to spend time wandering, taking photos, and searching for vagrants and hybrid birds.

Tom has long been interested in sharing his enthusiasm for exploring bird identification, distribution, and migration dynamics; he is a regional editor for North American Birds magazine and writes a regular column on identification for Birding magazine. Perhaps most of all, he loves sharing his passion for the natural world with others out in the field, and he's excited to have the opportunity to do this while leading for Shearwater Journeys.


JOHN GARRETT, above and below, is a student at the University of California, Santa Cruz. 
He has been a leader and chummer with Shearwater Journeys for several years. 

JENNIE DUBERSTEIN, above, was a guest chummer with us in 2013. 

LEADERS chumming and checking their images. 
From left, TOM JOHNSON, ADAM SEARCY, JOHN GARRETT
MARISSA ORTEGA-WELSH, above, works as a naturalist and educator, co-ordinating education programs for The Golden Gate Audubon Society in the Bay Area. She has conducted bird surveys in California, Washington, and Alaska, working for such agencies at the U.S. Forest Service and the Institute for Bird Populations. 

COURTENAY RAY, above, will be chumming on the following trips: HALF MOON BAY: OCT. 5 & 12; MONTEREY: SEP. 28. 
Courtenay's fascination with birds took off in high school and was soon followed by a series of avian research positions in Washington, California, Arizona, Mexico and the Mariana Islands. She is currently a graduate student at the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) where she is studying plant invasion in the Columbian alpine regions. 
ANNIE SCHMIDT, above, after she had recently defended her Ph. D. in 2013.
AL DE MARTINI, above, will be co-leading HALF MOON BAY: JULY 20.
Al worked for the Department of Fish and Game, Alaska on a salmon weir for many years. He knows a lot about salmon! He's a life-long, avid birder and graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. 

GERRY MCCHESNEY, above, works for U.S. Fish and Wildlife as the refuge manager of the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge, part of the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex. He has been involved with seabird studies and research for many decades since completing his MS. Current plans focus on restoring the Farallon Islands by eradicating non-native mice. 

DENA SPATZ, below, chatting with a sea birder, recently completed her MS at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Dena will be co-leading: HALF MOON BAY: OCT. 5 & 12.
Dena has a background in avian ecology and conservation. She is a graduate student in the Coastal Conservation Action Lab at UC Santa Cruz. Her research investigates the global distribution of threatened island species, focusing on seabirds, their threats, and conservation priorities on breeding islands. When not at school she enjoys birding, hiking, surfing and traveling. 

ADAM SEARCY, below, is a popular pelagic leader on many southern California trips.
He also leads for Shearwater Journeys,where he began his seabirding trips. 

MARY GUSTAFSON, below. 
Mary was a guest leader on several of our 2013 trips. She is a popular bird trip leader who lives in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. She loves to bird and has been involved with the world famous Rio Grande Valley Bird Festival for many years. See her blog, Mary Birds,  here


JAMES P. SMITH, above, is a professional bird tour leader who originally hailed from Yorkshire, but now lives in the northeastern USA. He leads tours for the British bird company, Birdfinders, in the USA, and Gambia, India and Israel. James will be on board our September 12, 2014 Monterey Bay trip. His blog is Pioneer Birding

JERI LANGHAM, Ph. D., above, has been doing pelagic trips with Shearwater Journeys for nearly four decades.  Jeri is a professional bird tour leader for Victor Emanuel Nature Tours. Jeri retired from California State University in Sacramento in 2008. He was a professor of biological sciences, and received not only the first Outstanding Teacher Award, but also the Outstanding Faculty Award, as well as other awards. He leads birding tours for VENT and private tours. What can we say? Jeri IS outstanding!

ABE BORKER & JERI LANGHAM celebrating a GREAT-WINGED PETREL which they spotted on the
August 26, 2011 Monterey Bay trip.
The very seabird, below! One of only a few records for North America, first documented on a Shearwater Journeys's August trip from Bodega Bay, 1998. Not only was that individual the first North American record, but the first NORTHERN HEMISPHERE RECORD!
GREAT-WINGED PETREL, image copyright, Abe Borker. 
The sea is full of surprises & delights! 
Our leaders are outstanding in every way! 
Jump on board with us!
Debi Shearwater