This is a trip report for Shearwater Journeys' offshore trip departing from Sausalito to the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge, October 20, 2013. The main purpose of this trip was to attempt to see the great white sharks which are often found around the islands at this time of year. However, Nature being Nature, the great white shark failed to make an appearance. We did, however, enjoy a very pleasant day at sea with some nice highlights, including the continuing NORTHERN GANNET at Sugarloaf. BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS, NORTHERN FULMAR, BULLER'S SHEARWATERS (nearshore!), SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER, SOUTH POLAR SKUA, RISSO'S DOLPHINS and HUMPBACK and BLUE WHALES were the highlights. Sailing under the GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE is always a highlight on this trip! We headed beyond the islands to the edge of the Continental Shelf where we encountered most of the seabirds on this day. Breeding season at the islands is long over, with few of the breeders around. Therefore, we did not expect to see any Tufted Puffins. And, we didn't. All images below, courtesy of Mark Rauzon, copyright. Please do not use without permission. Enjoy!
The GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE with the iconic SAN FRANCISCO SKYLINE.
Leader, PETER PYLE, scanning for great white shark activity. We put in a solid 2.5 hours looking for sharks. There may have been some activity, as one flock of feeding birds quickly assembled, but it was not a kill. Rapidly forming bird flocks are the key give away for a great white kill. It just didn't happen.
This NORTHERN GANNET has been around the Farallon Islands for more than a year. It is the first record for the Pacific. Perhaps, it came through the Northwest Passage? It has not nested, contrary to reports elsewhere. What if it meets up with one of the many boobies that have shown up this year?
The great white shark researchers, above. Waiting. They never saw one, either, on this day.
The divers and cage that they use to dive in to see the sharks. They never saw a great white on this day, either. Baiting of great white sharks is strictly forbidden.
Farallon National Wildlife Refuge sign. Open for business! Landings, however, are strictly regulated on the islands. Primarily, researchers spend time at the islands.
A RED-NECKED GREBE, flying at the islands, a rare bird out there.
Recent northwest frontal systems have brought a good influx of NORTHERN FULMARS, above.
SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER, above, a declining species. The "old" name, SLENDER-BILLED SHEARWATER, was perhaps, more appropriate.
A young, SOUTH POLAR SKUA, sat on the water for a long time, providing excellent views.
Returning to the harbor, heading under the Golden Gate Bridge, again — this time in sunshine. Folks getting photographs, above.
Leader, ANNIE SCHMIDT, who just completed her Phd. Congratulations, Annie!
Happy Birders, above, with my friend, Marilyn.
Many thanks of all of the birders who traveled from near and far to join this special trip. Despite missing the great white sharks, we had a beautiful day at sea. The leaders on this trip were: Peter Pyle, Jim Holmes, Annie Schmidt and Debi Shearwater.
The complete species list for SAN FRANCISCO/MARIN COUNTIES follows.
OCTOBER 20, 2013 SHEARWATER JOURNEYS FARALLON NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE:
COMMON LOON- 2/2
RED-NECKED GREBE- 1/0, offshore at the island
WESTERN GREBE- +
BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS- 1/0
NORTHERN FULMAR- 100/10
PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER- 80/0
BULLER'S SHEARWATER- 60/0, many just outside of Golden Gate
SOOTY SHEARWATER- 25/0, declining species
SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER- 1/0, declining species
** NORTHERN GANNET- 1/0
BROWN PELICAN- +
BRANDT'S CORMORANT- +
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT- +
PELAGIC CORMORANT- 25/0
SURF SCOTER- 100/200
WHITE-WINGED SCOTER- 0/1
NORTHERN SHOVELER- 8/0, offshore
CACKLING GOOSE- 5/0, offshore
BLACK OYSTERCATCHER- 7/0
BLACK TURNSTONE- 2, inside the bay
RED PHALAROPE- 2/0
SOUTH POLAR SKUA- 1/0
POMARINE JAEGER- 3/1
PARASITIC JAEGER- 1/0
BONAPARTE'S GULL- 8/0
HEERMANN'S GULL- +
CALIFORNIA GULL- +
HERRING GULL- 2/0
WESTERN GULL- +
GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL- 5/0
ELEGANT TERN- 50/0
FORSTER'S TERN- 1/0
COMMON MURRE- 400/50
CASSIN'S AUKLET- 22/0
RHINOCEROS AUKLET- 15/0
CALIFORNIA SEA LION- +
STELLER'S SEA LION- 20
NORTHERN FUR SEAL- 200
NORTHERN ELEPHANT SEAL- 8
HARBOR SEAL- +
BLUE WHALE- 1
HUMPBACK WHALE- 2
RISSO'S DOLPHIN- 12
HARBOR PORPOISE- 40
OCEAN SUNFISH- 1
BLUE SHARK- 1
SPACES ARE STILL AVAILABLE ON OUR LAST TRIPS OF THE FALL SEASON:
OCTOBER 25 MONTEREY BAY
Nick Levendosky, Clay Kempf, Jennifer Green, Debi Shearwater, Marissa Ortega-Welch, Holly Poole-Kavana
OCTOBER 27 HALF MOON BAY
Scott Terrill, Linda Terrill, John Garrett, Debi Shearwater
NOVEMBER 16 HALF MOON BAY
Todd McGrath, Scott Terrill, Linda Terrill, Tim Miller, Abe Borker, Debi Shearwater