Shearwater Journeys had a spectacular pelagic trip on Friday, September 27, 2019 on Monterey Bay. Seas were so calm and glassy that they were almost “greasy.” It was one of our very best marine weather days of the entire season.
Things kicked off to an amazing start when ace leader, Alex Rinkert, spotted a SABINE’S GULL, quickly followed by an ASHY STORM-PETREL before we reached the bell buoy at Point Pinos! This was an omen of seabirds to come and a prelude to the amazing seabird counts which followed from shore at Point Pinos during the next two days. The first two BLACK-VENTED SHEARWATERS of the season were found in this area. They were closely scrutinized for Manx, but are confirmed Black-vented. By the day’s end, we had tallied nearly 600 ASHY STORM-PETRELS.
A very strong south wind and northbound current had preceded our trip on Thursday, bringing warm water and most importantly, FOOD, to our area. Scattered flocks of SABINE’S GULLS, ARCTIC TERNS, RHINOCEROS AUKLETS, and PARASITIC JAEGERS, and BLACK STORM-PETRELS were found in abundance. They appeared to be feeding on baby sardines or baby anchovies. At one point, I remember thinking that we must be looking at nearly the entire population of Rhinoceros Auklets in California— there were so many of them. Scattered CASSIN’S AUKLETS were showing well, too.
Two TUFTED PUFFINS, both in Santa Cruz County showed very nicely. This is not an easy bird to tick in SCZ County. We’ve found them on at least 50% of our trips this season.
BULLER’S SHEARWATER numbers increased which is always exciting. Fishermen say that they associate with tuna! By golly, later in the day, I spotted a large group of very large BLUEFIN TUNA, also feeding! The sea surface temperature remained at 60-61 F throughout the day.
We had a grand slam on the jaegers: PARASITIC, LONG-TAILED, and POMARINE, as well as 10 SOUTH POLAR SKUAS!
It was a wonderful day at sea! Many thanks to all of the folks who joined this sold out trip, and to the leaders: Nick Levendosky, Alex Rinkert, and Dave Pereksta.
Our OCTOBER 11 MONTEREY BAY trip still has spaces open. Email me, if you would like to join us: <debi...> <mailto:<debi...>.
For those who might be interested, I attach the county lists below.
P.S. On Sunday, September 29, 2019 I saw a light morph WEDGE-TAILED SHEARWATER on our pelagic trip departing from Half Moon Bay. This will be reported on other list serves, but I wanted to mention it here.
Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
PO Box 190
Hollister, CA 95024
Celebrating 44 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater Journeys
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