San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society sponsored a 17-hour pelagic trip today, August 17. We departed Dana Point at 5 AM aboard the Ocean Institute's R/V Sea Explorer, and returned about 10 PM. We explored the waters mostly south and east of San Clemente Island, visiting 30 Mile Bank, 40 Mile Bank, Butterfly Bank, the San Clemente Basin, and the 277 Bank off Catalina Island. Highlights from the trip included 3 Cook's Petrels (40 Mile Bank), 2 Black-footed Albatrosses, several Townsend's Storm-Petrels, Blue-footed Booby (30 Mile Bank/SD Co.), Brown Booby, a couple Arctic Terns, a few Long-tailed Jaegers, and several dozen Craveri's Murrelets. Other species included Common Tern, Red and Red-necked Phalaropes, Sabine's Gull, Pomarine Jaeger, Black and Leach's Storm-Petrels, Cassin's Auklet, and Pink-footed, Sooty, and Black-vented Shearwaters. Of local interest in Orange County, we had several Leach's Storm-Petrels in the extreme southeastern corner of Orange County waters (depending on how one draws the boundary with SD), and then on our return trip saw half a dozen or so small storm-petrels south of Lausen Sea Mount that were likely Leach's or Least Storm-Petrels. Non-bird marine life included Elephant Seal, California Sea Lion, Common Dolphin, Minke Whale, Fin Whale, Green Sea Turtle, Hammerhead Shark, Mola mola, and flying fish.
Tom Benson San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society