Date: 10/9/18 2:10 pm From: Jim Danzenbaker <jdanzenbaker...> Subject: [obol] October 7 Oregon Pelagic Tours trip summary
Despite a forecast of 8 foot swells and possible rain, hearty pelagic enthusiasts from locations as far as Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Texas convened at the Newport Tradewinds for the Oregon Pelagic Tours (OPT) trip to the fishing grounds about 28 miles offshore. Morning announcements made and boarding instructions completed, we nosed out across the bar and headed to the fleet of fishing boats which we hoped had many feeding birds.
We were not disappointed in the birds or the weather.
We immediately encountered birds, many birds, as we got closer to the fleet. We stayed in the area for a prolonged period of time which allowed us to create two chum slicks and had birds around us for the entire time. Numbers were impressive (including 24 jaegers/skua!):
Black-footed Albatross: 331 (nice congregation of these visitors from the leeward chain of the Hawaiian Islands). Laysan Albatross: 2-3. (OPT has had great success finding this species this year!) Sooty Shearwater: 21 Short-tailed Shearwater: 2 (seen by a few) Pink-footed Shearwater: 54 Flesh-footed Shearwater: 1 (seen by all) Buller's Shearwater: 13 (such a beautiful and striking seabird) Northern Fulmar: 204 (dark, gray, pale, and white morphs) Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel: 10 Pomarine Jaeger: 6 (a few full tailed birds) Parasitic Jaeger: 10 (nice to see this many!) Long-tailed Jaeger: 6 (must have been around because of the Sabine's Gulls. This is a good number for October) jaeger (sp): 1 South Polar Skua: 1 (only seen by a few) Sabine's Gull: 460 (surprising number for October. Included some young of the year. Black-legged Kittiwake: 1 Cassin's Auklet: 147 (flocks of up to 15) Rhinoceros Auklet: 39 Common Murre: 11 Scripps's Murrelet: 1 (seen by only one observer) alcid (sp): 10
Add in the sometimes ridiculous number of California and lesser number of Western Gulls and you can picture the avian activity that we enjoyed for more than 5 hours. Even the Herring Gulls put in a good show.
Mammals didn't disappoint either. We saw at least a dozen Humpback Whales with many flukes amid the fine spray of whale blows. 8-10 Dall's Porpoise shot in from nowhere and bow rode for a while before continuing on to that next feeding frenzy. A few Northern Fur Seals poked their heads up to check us out.
Finally, regardless of the forecast of a deep swell, the weather was perfect for pelagic birding, a much smaller swell than forecasted and overcast sky so no glare! A slight drizzle at times didn't get in the way.....and NOBODY fed their last meal to the birds!
Thanks to trip organizer and leader Tim Shelmerdine and fellow guides Russ Namitz, Shawneen Finnegan, and Dave Irons for a great trip!