Shearwater Journeys's pelagic trip to the Farallon Islands, August 3, 2014 to view TUFTED PUFFINS and many seabirds was a huge success that included: NORTHERN GANNET, BROWN BOOBY and LAYSAN ALBATROSS!
Our target bird, the charismatic TUFTED PUFFIN, put on a good show, with the first individuals spotted before we even reached the islands. We have a 100% success rate for seeing puffins on this trip!
Our trip departs from Sausalito where we head out to the islands, ducking under a California icon, the GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE.
Nearing the islands, the captain spotted a lot of juvenile rockfish, on the fish finder.
We saw rafts of PIGEON GUILLEMOTS, many carrying these rockfish to the island to feed their young.
Heading straight to Sugerloaf, we immediately spotted the NORTHERN GANNET that has now been at the islands for 3 years! Our trips have been 100% successful in finding the gannet, although over recent months it has also roosted on Alcatraz Island. This is possibly the first gannet record for the West coast, and certainly the first for California. The gannet is the white blob in the photo, above. The head is not in view.
Not far from the gannet, we spotted a BROWN BOOBY! One or more, brown boobies have been hanging around the islands since last spring. Two days after our trip, a blue-footed booby showed up! We have seen brown booby on many of our past trips to the islands.
The islands are part of the National Wildlife Refuge system. Landing on the islands is not permitted by the general public. These houses play host to a variety of biologists.
BRANDT'S CORMORANTS above, and COMMON MURRES, below.
After having lunch with the puffins, we headed to the edge of the Continental Shelf to look for other seabirds. This put us out in the shipping lanes with the big ones!
A half dozen BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES began following in our wake.
A surprise was a gorgeous LAYSAN ALBATROSS which flew in and put on a good show!
Returning to the harbor, we passed under the bridge, again, and watched the shipping traffic, coming and going.
And, had a chance to enjoy the beautiful SAN FRANCISCO SKYLINE.
Many thanks to all who joined us on this successful day at sea!
Special thanks to Golden Gate Audubon Society and my friend, Gerry McChesney.
Leaders on this day were: PETER PYLE, NICK LEVENDOSKY & DEBI SHEARWATER.
Along with two friends, Peter, set a new Mammal Big Day for North America!
The COMPLETE SPECIES LIST for SHEARWATER JOURNEYS, AUGUST 3, 2014 FARALLON ISLANDS TRIP FOLLOWS: (ALL BIRDS OFFSHORE, SAN FRANCISCO COUNTY).
WESTERN GREBE- 100
LAYSAN ALBATROSS- 1
BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS- 12
NORTHERN FULMAR- 6
PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER- 30
SOOTY SHEARWATER- 400
*BROWN BOOBY- 1
**NORTHERN GANNET- 1
BROWN PELICAN- 10
BRANDT'S CORMORANT- 2020
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT- 9
PELAGIC CORMORANT- 10
WANDERING TATTLER- 1
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE- 15
PARASITIC JAEGER- 6
HEERMANN'S GULL- 32
CALIFORNIA GULL- 10
WESTERN GULL- 550
ELEGANT TERN- 75
COMMON MURRE- 2020
PIGEON GUILLEMOT- 325
CASSIN'S AUKLET- 20
RHINOCEROS AUKLET- 12
TUFTED PUFFIN- 25
PEREGRINE FALCON- 2, at the islands, not nesting this year.
CALIFORNIA SEA LION- 400
STELLER'S SEA LION- 30
NORTHERN FUR SEAL- 400
NORTHERN ELEPHANT SEAL- 7
HARBOR SEAL- 85
HUMPBACK WHALE- 2
RISSO'S DOLPHIN- 2
HARBOR PORPOISE- 8
OCEAN SUNFISH- 18
SHEARWATER JOURNEYS'S 2015
FARALLON ISLANDS TRIPS: $187/PERSON
AUGUST 2: TUFTED PUFFINS & BREEDING SEABIRDS
OCTOBER 11: THE HUNT FOR GREAT WHITE SHARKS
View Shearwater Journeys's complete schedule for 2014, here.