FIRST OF SEASON: FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER
This is a trip report for Shearwater Journeys' August 17, 2013 pelagic trip departing from Half Moon Bay, California. Highlights included: LAYSAN ALBATROSS; FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER (first of the fall season), BULLER'S SHEARWATER, ASHY STORM-PETREL, WILSON'S and BLACK STORM-PETRELS (seen well by almost all on board), POMARINE, PARASITIC and LONG-TAILED JAEGERS; COMMON and ARCTIC TERNS; and HUMPBACK WHALES. All images, copyright, Todd McGrath. Please do not use without permission. Want to learn more about "tubenoses?" Click here.
A whopping TEN SPECIES OF TUBENOSES were observed on this trip!
We started the morning by taking a drive through the thousands of SOOTY SHEARWATERS which I had previously reported near the Pillar Point Harbor. In addition, we tallied some 325 PELAGIC CORMORANTS which might be a high count in recent years for the central coast of California. Undoubtedly, these birds are feeding on the schooling ANCHOVIES.
A LAYSAN ALBATROSS, above followed our vessel for nearly three hours, appearing in both San Mateo and San Francisco Counties.
The first FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER of the fall season showed up, as leaders Linda Terrill and Todd McGrath spotted it simultaneously. As usual, it flew right past the wake of the boat — long enough for Todd to capture the image, above. This is one of the "highly prized" species on West Coast pelagic trips. It may become more so in the future, as biologists are working to make a more accurate estimate of the world population of this species. Some biologists in Australia are making dire estimates that the population has plummeted from an original estimate of 450,000 pairs to 60,000 pairs.
BULLER'S SHEARWATERS, above, were found in mixed species flocks.
We tallied all three species of jaegers: POMARINE, PARASITIC, above & LONG-TAILED.
PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS, above, were with us throughout the day.
SABINE'S GULL, above, were found in both San Mateo and San Francisco Counties.
Returning to the harbor at day's end, we were treated to the sight of feeding seabirds, including nearly 800 ELEGANT TERNS. Above, an adult is feeding a still dependent youngster. Grow up, already!
We had a wonderful, nearly 11 hour day at sea. One new Big Year birder was on board, Ron Furnish, who ticked a load of new birds for the year. One young birder, Will, scored 16 Life Birds! The leaders on this trip were: Todd McGrath, Jim Holmes, Scott Terrill, Linda Terrill and Debi Shearwater. Many thanks to all of those folks who traveled from near and far to join us at sea!
The complete species list follows for SAN MATEO/SAN FRANCISCO COUNTIES/TOTAL
AUGUST 17, 2013 SHEARWATER JOURNEYS
WESTERN GREBE- 12/0/12
CLARK'S GREBE- 1/0/1
WESTERN/CLARK'S GREBE- 30/0/30
LAYSAN ALBATROSS- 1/1/1
BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS- 6/8/8
NORTHERN FULMAR- 0/1/1
PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER- 26/64/90
FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER- 0/1/1
BULLER'S SHEARWATER- 3/0/3
SOOTY SHEARWATER- 8135/130/8265
WILSON'S STORM-PETREL- 1/0/1
ASHY STORM-PETREL- 42/84/126
BLACK STORM-PETREL- 3/0/3
BROWN PELICAN- 1200/0/1200
BRANDT'S CORMORANT- 130/0/130
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT- 90/0/90
PELAGIC CORMORANT- 325/0/325
BLACK OYSTERCATCHER- 7/0/7
WANDERING TATTLER- 2/0/2
BLACK TURNSTONE- 11/0/11
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE- 3/3/6
RED PHALAROPE- 19/36/55
POMARINE JAEGER- 1/3/4
PARASITIC JAEGER- 0/2/2
LONG-TAILED JAEGER- 1/6/9
HEERMANN'S GULL- 1500/1/1500
CALIFORNIA GULL- 190/1/190
WESTERN GULL- 925/25/950
SABINE'S GULL- 5/2/7
ELEGANT TERN- 800/0/800
COMMON TERN- 2/0/2
ARCTIC TERN- 2/0/2
COMMON MURRE- 310/14/ 325
PIGEON GUILLEMOT- 12/0/12
CASSIN'S AUKLET- 0/7/7
RHINOCEROS AUKLET- 4/4/8
CALIFORNIA SEA LION- 25/3/28
STELLER'S SEA LION- 1/0/1
HUMPBACK WHALE- 0/2/2
HARBOR PORPOISE- 12/0/12
SPACES ARE AVAILABLE ON THESE UPCOMING TRIPS:
HALF MOON BAY: AUG 25; SEP 8, 9, 16, 22, 28, 29; OCT 6, 27; NOV 16
BODEGA BAY: AUG 30; SEP 20; OCT 18
MONTEREY: ALBACORE TRIP: SEP 7
MONTEREY BAY: AUG 23; SEP 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 27; OCT 5, 13, 25
Jump on board!