Date: 11/2/18 8:47 am From: Jim Danzenbaker <jdanzenbaker...> Subject: [obol] October 27 Oregon Pelagic Tours trip summary
Late October is when Fall storms generally start to hit Oregon but getting a window between storms is sweet and that is what Oregon Pelagic Tours accomplished this past Saturday. With that forecast in mind, pelagic enthusiasts from as far as Finland met at Newport Tradewinds and boarded the *Misty *for an 8 hour trip to the fishing grounds 28 miles offshore.
A surprisingly smooth journey out allowed us to find expected species such as Marbled Murrelets and a surprise Tufted Puffin. Southbound scoters and loons were evident.
We were encouraged to find that the captain had a fishing boat in sight and, as we approached it, birdlife became abundant. Black-footed Albatrosses aplenty with 2 Laysan Albatrosses brought smiles to all. Although we never managed to break the 4 shearwater mark, the three that we saw were seen and appreciated. Any day with Buller's Shearwaters is a good day! Other highlights included many up close and personal moments with Northern Fulmars and and a variety of voracious and vocal gulls including Thayer's.
The standout species of the trip had to be Tufted Puffin. We didn't see one, or two, or three - we tallied 5 (five) which is the most that I remember seeing on any Oregon pelagic trip! These were not just fly aways and seen by a few - several were in the water for pop up views and several others flew in front of the boat and seen by all. Another surprise was a pair of Marbled Murrelets that were 6.5 miles offshore...by far the furthest offshore I have ever seen this species. No, they were not Long-billed Murrelets.
Mammals were represented with a fair number of Humpback Whales and a pod of Dall's Porpoises that came in to inspect the *Misty*.
The weather caught up with us at our chum spot and we returned to Newport under a light rain and building seas but that's the pelagic life. Just make sure that the seas are following instead of coming!
Numbers (excluding sea ducks, loons, grebes, and gulls):
Black-footed Albatross: 82 (nice congregation of these visitors from the leeward chain of the Hawaiian Islands). Laysan Albatross: 2. (OPT has had great success finding this species this year!) Sooty Shearwater: 202 Pink-footed Shearwater: 37 Buller's Shearwater: 12 (such a beautiful and striking seabird) Northern Fulmar: 290 (dark, gray, pale, and white morphs) Pomarine Jaeger: 2 Black-legged Kittiwake: 1 Cassin's Auklet: 18 Rhinoceros Auklet: 33 Common Murre: 42 Red Phalarope: 2 (seen by a few) Black-legged Kittiwake: 1
Thanks to Tim Shelmerdine and fellow guides Shawneen Finnegan, and Dave Irons for a great trip!