Shearwater Journeys' pelagic trip from Half Moon Bay today was a loads of fun! Ace seabirder, Phil Hansbro who hails from Newcastle, Australia, shouted out, "GREAT-WINGED PETREL" at 0940 as the pterodroma was zipping along from the stern to the bow, only 7 miles off the San Mateo County coast. Wow! Few shearwaters or other tubenoses were in sight. This represents the fifth sighting of Great-winged Petrel (Pterodroma macroptera gouldi) for North America and the Northern Hemisphere. Most folks on board missed the petrel, although a few did see it. Leader and San Mateo County birder, Tristan McKee did see the petrel. In a matter of seconds it was gone. Although we laid out a slick, it did not return. Such is seabirding!
Other highlights of the day included great views and photo ops of a CASSIN'S AUKLET near the harbor, MARBLED MURRELETS and TUFTED PUFFINS!
Phil Hansbro, above. Check out his web site, here.
The day began a lot better than yesterday, with much improved sea conditions. Above is the weather buoy and a heard of California Sea Lions nearby, trying to figure out how to jump on the buoy!
One Steller's Sea Lion, above, was with this gang!
That's Doug Koch, above. And, yes, that's two cameras in his hands! He did see the Great-winged Petrel!
Chris Hitt, above, completed a Big Year in the lower 48 states in 2010, setting the record at 704.
Folks had a lazy, sunny afternoon.
We thank the folks who came from near and far (Australia & the UK) to join us. Many folks have joined us on multiple trips, including several trips from Half Moon Bay and our Bodega Bay trip, September 14th. The leaders on this day were: Scott Terrill, Linda Terrill, Tristan McKee and Debi Shearwater.
The complete species list of the September 17, 2011 Shearwater Journeys' pelagic trip from Half Moon Bay follows. All birds are for San Mateo County.
RED-THROATED LOON- 1
PACIFIC LOON- 3
COMMON LOON- 4
WESTERN GREBE- 46
BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS- 11
NORTHERN FULMAR- 85
*GREAT-WINGED PETREL- 1
PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER- 95
BULLER'S SHEARWATER- 26
SOOTY SHEARWATER- 180
FORK-TAILED SHEARWATER- 1
ASHY STORM-PETREL- 3
BROWN PELICAN- 45
BRANDT'S CORMORANT- 230
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT- 75
PELAGIC CORMORANT- 4
SANDERLING- 60, on the jetty
BLACK OYSTERCATCHER- 2, on the jetty
BLACK TURNSTONE- 18, on the jetty
SURFBIRD- 16, on the jetty
WILLET- 12, on the jetty
RED PHALAROPE- 9
SOUTH POLAR SKUA- 4
POMARINE JAEGER- 5
PARASITIC JAEGER- 9
LONG-TAILED JAEGER- 2
HEERMANN'S GULL- 80
CALIFORNIA GULL- 35
WESTERN GULL- 250
SABINE'S GULL- 32
ELEGANT TERN- 4
COMMON TERN- 1, just outside the harbor
COMMON MURRE- 76
PIGEON GUILLEMOT- 1
MARBLED MURRELET- 4
CASSIN'S AUKLET- 8 (1 gave terrific photo-ops, just inside the harbor)
RHINOCEROS AUKLET- 12
TUFTED PUFFIN- 2
GREAT BLUE HERON- 1
CALIFORNIA SEA LION- 50, most at the weather buoy
STELLER'S SEA LION- 1, at the weather buoy
NORTHERN FUR SEAL- 1
HARBOR SEAL- 6
HUMPBACK WHALE- 3
NORTHERN RIGHT WHALE DOLPHIN- 200
PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHIN- 75
HARBOR PORPOISE- 13
OCEAN SUNFISH- 12
Above, Phil Hansbro meets up with three SoCal birding friends! Phil was hoping to see Ashy Storm-Petrel for a life bird, which he did do. Tomorrow, we hope to find hoards of storm-petrels, as the sea conditions are forecast for continued improvement. Images of the seabirds of the day will follow later. No images of the Great-winged Petrel were obtained.
AKA: Annie Auklet, played by Angelica Huston, in the 20th Century Fox movie, "The Big Year" opening 14 October!