Sunday, August 23, 2015

IMAGES OF THE DAY BY BETH HAMEL: AUGUST 21, 2015 MONTEREY BAY

BETH HAMEL & HER FRIENDLY CAMERA LENSE! 
She handholds this monster.
All images, Copyright, Beth Hamel.
Please do not use without permission. 
Monterey Bay trip. 
SEA OTTER feeding youngster portions of a clam. 
That's the distended foot of the clam in the image.
I think this was high on Beth's "wish list" on this day!
BREACHING HUMPBACK WHALES near MOSS LANDING, 
MONTEREY BAY.
 By day's end, we would record some 62 HUMPBACKS!
Notice the knobs on the edge of the whale's flipper and the top of the head. 
Barnacles on the chin. The lined area is the throat pleats. 
GREAT EGRET fishing on the Coast Guard Jetty.
SOOTY SHEARWATER taking flight, showing the silver wing-linings.
 NORTHERN FULMAR, above, always has a yellowish bill. 
Intense chases by POMARINE JAGEGERS of ELEGANT TERNS
Jaegers are kleptoparasites
 It just doesn't seem fair when more than one jaeger gangs up on a bird. 
 POMARINE JAEGER, sitting on the water, and in flight, below. 
 A young NORTHERN ELEPHANT SEAL sticking its head out of the water.
 At this age, they are known as "rat noses."
This is the second largest seal in the world. 
 RHINOCEROS AUKLET breed at Ano Nuevo Island north of Santa Cruz.
 RISSO'S DOLPHINS are very large dolphins, up to 13 feet long, with tall dorsal fins, heavy scarring on the gray body. 
 RISSO'S DOLPHINS have bulbous heads and feed on squid. 
 Here's a change-up: PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER harassing a SABINE'S GULL!
 ASHY STORM-PETREL, one of the rarest of the world's storm-petrels. 
 Most of the ASHY STORM-PETRELS did not approach the vessel very closely, as is the usual case.
HUMPBACK WHALE pectoral flipper, slapping the water repeatedly. 
These flippers can be up to 12 feet long. 
IT WAS ONE HECK OF A DAY ON MONTEREY BAY!
SEE YOU OUT THERE!
LIVING THE SALT LIFE,
Debi Shearwater
debi@shearwaterjourneys.com



MONTEREY SEABIRDS: FIRECRACKER DAY: AUGUST 21, 2015

Howdy, Seabirders,
Monterey's seabirds put on a non-stop show on August 21, 2015! Seabirds were in view throughout the day with virtually no lulls. It was a bit exhausting! 
Monterey Bay is usually so productive that it doesn't really matter where I go with the boat. Consequently, for most trips, I don't make an advance plan. However, on this day I had a distinctive plan: head out to where we used to find the storm-petrels after covering the inshore birds and then head to Moss Landing where a humpback whale show is simply over the top! And, this is exactly what we did — the results speak for themselves!
A few of the commercial fishing fleet in the harbor.
A mother SEA OTTER in the harbor, banging a clam, and feeding it to her youngster while a WESTERN GULL hangs out for tidbits of scraps. 
CALIFORNIA SEA LIONS & HEERMANN'S GULL on the Coast Guard Breakwater. 
Scanning the rocky jetty, we found BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS, BLACK TURNSTONES & SURFBIRDS.
A GREAT EGRET fishing from the jetty.
An oceanside view of the MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM along Cannery Row. 
BRANDT'S CORMORANTS (above) are abundant along the inshore areas, while PELAGIC CORMORANTS are found in much smaller numbers. 
One of the strangest and most endearing fishes, the OCEAN SUNFISH (Mola mola). 
WESTERN GULL mouthing off. 
I once saw a Western Gull eat a Red-necked Phalarope alive.
It is easy to see how that big mouth could swallow the whole phalarope.
 Just about a mile and half off Point Pinos, we encountered thousands of streaming SOOTY SHEARWATERS. They seemed to be traveling from Moss Landing and heading southwest. 
SOOTY SHEARWATER, above. 
Along with the shearwaters, FATHER/CHICK PAIRS of COMMON MURRES were just off the point.
A sprinkling of CASSIN'S AUKLETS was a surprise at the same location. 
The first PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS began following in our wake. 
RED-NECKED PHALAROPES, above, and RED PHALAROPES, below, were found throughout the day. 
 PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS breed on islands off the coast of Chile. 
Ten individuals have been fitted with radio tags. 
One was tracked to Monterey Bay!
 Scattered RISSO'S DOLPHIN groups were around, hunting squid. 
 The first of more than 100 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES showed up at 9:15 a.m., fifteen minutes late by my calculation!
PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER and BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS flying side-by-side, above.
PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER sitting in our wake. 
They often vocalize, "beep!"
BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS, one of three species in the North Pacific. 
LONG-BEAKED COMMON DOLPHINS added to the species list.
Their tiny calves were traveling with mothers. 
They are not normally found in Monterey Bay, preferring the warmer waters south of Point Conception on the California coastline. But, during this warm water, El Nino year, they have been hanging out in Monterey Bay. 
 JERI LANGHAM was on board with a group from Victor Emanuel Nature Tours (VENT).
SEABIRDERS enjoying the sights of the day!
We managed to find scatterings of both ASHY & BLACK STORM-PETRELS.
 
The "stacks" of the power plant at MOSS LANDING.
We made our way over to Moss Landing, traversing the great Monterey Submarine Canyon.
Again, we encountered hundreds of feeding shearwaters, and more than 50 feeding humpback whales. 
SOOTY SHEARWATERS, above.
SOOTY SHEARWATERS with impersonator POMARINE JAEGERS! 
POMARINE JAEGER
Overall, jaeger numbers have been very thin so far, this season. 
A LUNGE-FEEDING HUMPBACK WHALE! 
That's the head of the whale, with the mouth wide open. 
It is gulping water laden with anchovies. 
BREACHING HUMPBACK WHALES were like the final fireworks on the 4th of July!

 HUMPBACK WHALE TAIL FLUKES & a BLACK-VENTED SHEARWATER.
These southern shearwaters have just arrived in Monterey Bay! 
A positively splendid day with Monterey's seabirds and marine mammals!

 Many thanks to all of the birders who joined us on this day from NY, LA, WI, MA, TX, MN, England and of course, California. We couldn't do it without you!

To view more images of this trip by Beth Hamel, click here.

The leaders on this trip were: Nick Levendosky, Rick Fournier, Jennifer Green, Christian Schwarz, and Debi Shearwater. Sea surface temperatures ranged from 61-64F, warmest near the weather buoy area.

THE COMPLETE SPECIES LIST FOR SHEARWATER JOURNEYS' AUGUST 21, 2015 TRIP FOLLOWS: MONTEREY/SANTA CRUZ COUNTIES:

BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS- 90/20
NORTHERN FULMAR- 17/5
PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER- 200/450
BULLER'S SHEARWATER- 6/5
SOOTY SHEARWATER- 5500/770
BLACK-VENTED SHEARWATER- 10/0
ASHY STORM-PETREL- 15/10
BLACK STORM-PETREL- 9/2
BROWN PELICAN- +
BRANDT'S CORMORANT- 150/20
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT- 1/0
PELAGIC CORMORANT- 4/0
BLACK OYSTERCATCHER- 2/0
BLACK TURNSTONE- 2/0
SURFBIRD- 3/0
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE- 85/380
RED PHALAROPE- 18/23
POMARINE JAEGER- 4/2
PARASITIC JAEGER- 1/0
PARASITIC/LONG-TAILED JAEGER- 0/1
HEERMANN'S GULL- 30
CALIFORNIA GULL- +
WESTERN GULL- +
SABINE'S GULL- 9/2
ELEGANT TERN- 300/10
COMMON/ARCTIC TERN- 1/0
CASPIAN TERN- 2/0
COMMON MURRE- 500/250
PIGEON GUILLEMOT- 8/1
CASSIN'S AUKLET- 6/10
RHINOCEROS AUKLET- 14/2
TUFTED PUFFIN- 1/0, flyby
SEA OTTER- 7
CALIFORNIA SEA LION- 25-
NORTHERN FUR SEAL- 12
NORTHERN ELEPHANT SEAL- 2
HARBOR SEAL- 4
HUMPBACK WHALE- 62
LONG-BEAKED COMMON DOLPHIN- 250
RISSO'S DOLPHIN- 15
HARBOR PORPOISE- 7
OCEAN SUNFISH- 8
EGG YOLK JELLY- ++
MOON JELLY- +
UPCOMING TRIPS FROM MONTEREY:
SEPTEMBER 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 16, 25, 26, 27
OCTOBER 3 & 10
UPCOMING TRIPS FROM HALF MOON BAY:
SEPTEMBER 6 & 20; OCTOBER 4, 11
GREAT WHITE SHARK TRIP:
OCTOBER 18, departing from Sausalito to the Farallon Islands
Hope to see you out there!
LIVING THE SALT LIFE, 
Debi Shearwater
debi@shearwaterjourneys.com

All images, Copyright, Jeff Bleam & Jeannine Mealey.
Please do not use without permission.