Date: 8/29/17 1:46 pm From: Bruce LaBar <blabar...> Subject: [Tweeters] Westport Pelagic Trip, Aug. 27 -- FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER
Westport Seabirds ran back-to-back pelagic trips this past weekend. Like Saturday, Sunday’s highlight was watching a commercial fishing boat haul with it’s tons of Pacific Whiting fish. This draws hundreds of seabirds from miles around. We found two shrimp boats along our route that also brought in good numbers of birds. Unlike Saturday, we experienced some bumpy seas and a fog bank further out that eventually cleared. Most of the seabirds we saw were near the Willapa Canyon in Pacific County.
The highlight for many was our first-of-the year sighting of a FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER. It came off the water behind a shrimper and circled around our boat several times. This shearwater breeds in New Zealand and is a regular fall visitor, though still rare. Bulkier than Sooties, with dark underwings and body, a very noticeable pink bill and flesh-colored feet, it’s always a much sought-after shearwater.
Other highlights include over 700 Sabine’s Gulls (one of the highest numbers that I recall), over a hundred Fork-tailed Storm Petrels and Black-footed Albatross, 3 Buller’s Shearwaters, 2 Pomarine Jaegers, 1 South Polar Skua and 1 flyby Tufted Puffin.
Mammal sightings were sparse, however, one Humpback Whale got close to us and waved it’s flipper. We also had a Northern Fur Seal, Steller’s and California Sea Lions, Harbor Porpoise and Seals and Dall’s Porpoise.
Spotters for this trip were Bill Tweit, Cara Borre and me. As always, boat personnel and helpful spotters were Phil and Chris Anderson.
Our next scheduled pelagic trip is this Saturday, Sept. 2, with spaces still available. If interested, please check our website for information and reservations at www.westportseabirds.com.