Westport Seabirds’ first pelagic trip of the year, was a great success! Fifteen seabird enthusiasts got a window between rough sea conditions during the previous days and with some to follow. Light rain and some bumpy conditions in the morning were not a deterrent for us to get 30-35 miles out to deep water. The trip back was smooth and with no rain, made viewing great.
Leaving at 0700, we started counting at daybreak, around 0730. For the next 3 hours traveling roughly 30 miles, we encountered a limited amount of bird activity because of the time of year and the sea conditions.
Highlights included: 1 Long-tailed Duck at least 3 miles off shore, 6 Black-footed Albatross and 22 Northern Fulmars as we neared Grays Canyon, lots of Common Murres numbering over 300 ( many that looked well fed, good news for the up-coming breeding season), 38 Cassin’s Auklet, 34 Black-legged Kittiwakes and 2 Ancient Murrelets (that were seen by a few).
As we neared our normal chum spot in Grays Canyon, Phil Anderson had been following the F/V Maverick (a long-liner fish vessel operated by the Quinault Indian Nation) by radar. Long-liners usually attract hundreds of seabirds and indeed that was the scene.
Highlights were: 2 LAYSAN ALBATROSS, 40 Black-footed Albatross, 310 Northern Fulmars, 30 Black-legged Kittiwakes and an assortment of gulls, mostly Herring.
Our journey back to inshore had the similar regular species with the highlight being 2 POMARINE JAEGERS on the water together, then taking flight for all to see.
Coming into the harbor, close to the Westport jetty, we immediately noted a large brown and white bird with several cormorants around it. It was a BROWN BOOBY, sleeping. Then it lifted its head several times for all to see and photograph. This was our first sighting of this species during the winter with maybe 6-7 other records for Westport Seabirds trips. This bird was also number 550 life birds for Sierra Downs, one of our youngest pelagic regulars! Oh, by the way, number 449 was the Laysan Albatross!
Other highlights coming into the boat basin included 6 Black Turnstones and 1 Surfbird on the jetty and a CLARK’S GREBE in the basin.
Mammal sightings were, 1 Gray Whale, 4 Northern Fur Seals, Harbor Porpoise, Harbor Seals, California Sea Lions and Steller’s Sea Lions.
Spotters for this trip were Bill Tweit, Gene Revelas, Cara Borre and myself. Boat personnel and spotters were Phil and Chris Anderson.
Our next scheduled trip is on March 17, with spaces still available. For reservations and all information for these trips, please visit our website at www.westportseabirds.com
Thanks to all for making this first trip of the year such a great success!
On behalf of Westport Seabirds,