This is a trip report for Shearwater Journeys' August 23, 2013 pelagic trip departing from Monterey Bay, California. Highlights included: BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS; increasing numbers of BULLER'S SHEARWATERS, increasing numbers of RHINOCEROS AUKLETS, 4 BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS, 8 BLUE WHALES, 11 HUMPBACK WHALES, 175 RISSO'S DOLPHINS, 4 PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHINS and a very large OCEAN SUNFISH. After four days of very calm conditions along the central coast, a pressure system had moved in bringing with it increased northwest afternoon winds. However, we were on the downhill side of the winds and managed to have more than a pleasant return ride to the harbor. The big news, though was a warm water invasion during the calm period. Sea surface temperatures reached 59 degrees F.
We enjoyed excellent views of the world class Monterey Bay Aquarium, above.
Not often spotted, we saw four BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS riding along the kelp beds. They have been spotted feeding on schooling anchovies near shore, from Monterey to Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay and San Francisco.
One of eight BLUE WHALES, above, which we put the whale watching fleet on. Blue whales are the largest animals that have ever lived on Earth. Most of the whale is not visible. Even though these are the largest of all whales, they have a very small dorsal fin, as above.
Blue Whales rarely raise their tail flukes, although the one above, and below, did so. A layer of diatoms is present on the tail stalk of this whale which can be seen as a dark yellowish-brown coloration on the tail stalk.
After a full day of birding, we headed toward the inner part of the bay to get out of the wind a bit, and to see some HUMPBACK WHALES, below.
As many as 11 Humpback Whales were feeding along the shoreline, viewable in the background. Monterey Bay is a very, very rich feeding ground for seabirds and marine mammals. One does not need to travel far offshore to witness the feeding spectacles of marine life!
Humpback Whale tail flukes, above and below. Their flukes are always scalloped on the trailing edge.
As if it was the grand finale firework at a Fourth of July celebration, several Humpbacks fully breached for the ending of a lovely day at sea with a bunch of great folks on board our trip.
We thank all of those folks who came from near and far to join our trip on this day. And, I thank Victor Emanuel Nature Tours for joining us with leader, Jeri Langham. The leaders on this trip were: Clay Kempf, Nick Levendosky, Jennifer Green and Debi Shearwater. Images courtesy of Linette Mansberger, copyright.
Friends for nearly four decades: Jeri Langham & Debi Shearwater
The complete species list for MONTEREY/SANTA CRUZ COUNTIES/TOTAL follows:
AUGUST 23, 2013 SHEARWATER JOURNEYS
BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS- 5/12/17
NORTHERN FULMAR- 0/1/1
PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER- 18/21/39
BULLER'S SHEARWATER- 6/22/28
SOOTY SHEARWATER- 380/360/740
BROWN PELICAN- 25/10/35
BRANDT'S CORMORANT- 300/3/303
CANADA GOOSE- 3/0/3
BLACK TURNSTONE- 11/0/11
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE- 290/70/360
RED PHALAROPE- 3/10/13
POMARINE JAEGER- 7/8/15
PARASITIC JAEGER- 0/1/1
HEERMANN'S GULL- +
CALIFORNIA GULL- +
WESTERN GULL- +
SABINE'S GULL- 1/2/3
ELEGANT TERN- 78/4/82
COMMON TERN- 0/1/1
CASPIAN TERN- 0/1/1
COMMON MURRE- 225/85/310
PIGEON GULLEMOT- 6/0/6
RHINOCEROS AUKLET- 46/62/108
SEA OTTER- 12
CALIFORNIA SEA LION- 75
NORTHERN ELEPHANT SEAL- 1
BLUE WHALE- 8
HUMPBACK WHALE- 11
RISSO'S DOLPHIN- 175
PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHIN- 4
BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN- 4
OCEAN SUNFISH- 1
EGG YOLK JELLIES- +
Hope to see you out there!