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  1. Pelagic season gets more interesting! Aug 17 report - Half Moon Bay. LINK
    DATE: Aug 18, 2019 @ 12:29pm, 3 year(s) ago
    Penbirds and Cal Birders Yesterday was a great day at sea, with tons to look at and many arriving pelagic species for Northern California. A wonderfully close Laysan Albatross was a highlight, the bird was banded presumably from Guadalupe Island, Mexico and we will follow up on that. Lots and lots of Black-footed Albatrosses were offshore! We found the first Bullers Shearwaters and Black Storm-Petrels of the season for Northern California. Overall shearwater numbers were high, and constant. This was a pelagic with no dead zones. Three species of storm petrels, including Ashy and Fork-tailed, the Ashy were not clumped but were seen throughout the day including some as close as 7 miles from shore. We think that very soon we will find the big flocks sitting in the Pioneer Canyon. All three jaegers were found, although just ones and twos, and the first South Polar Skua up at this latitude for the year was fantastic to see. Sabines Gulls were in evidence, all adults. Quite amazing were the numbers of Arctic Terns out there, at one point we counted 70 in one spot! They were found over three hours of the trip, and were amongst the highest numbers of Arctic Terns we have ever seen out here, perhaps our record! The terns were actively foraging, not just passing through and were mainly adults. Alcids were superb, with the expected Pigeon Guillemot, Common Murre, Cassins Auklet and Rhinoceros Auklet. A Scrippss Murrelet was our second of the year, and Marbled Murrelets continue nearshore, now looking more wintery in their plumage. Photos of some of the birds here: There were lots of Pacific White-sided Dolphins offshore, along with a good number of the sleek and fancy looking Northern Right Whale Dolphin. Many Humpback Whales, although no active foraging. Non-bird highlight was the second Leatherback Sea Turtle of the season. However, it was only seen from the wheelhouse, and it dove and did not come back up unfortunately. There are countless groups of baby Mola mola (Ocean Sunfish) out there this year, much more so than usual. The water continues to warm up offshore, and even inshore water is consistently above 58 F, which is on the warm side of us here. Albacore water appears to be just out of reach right now from a typical pelagic, but that water may come closer to shore as the season progresses. The arrival of Black Storm-Petrels, are a sign of a warm water year, they are not always present at this latitude. Hopefully this means that Craveris Murrelets will be around this year. We had a stiff breeze from the south for the first hour of the trip, and later wind died to almost nothing for much of the trip, with large but rounded swells making for a pleasant trip weather wise. Spotters concluded that this was our best trip out yet this season, and a really great day out on any year! From the many smiling faces at the dock, it seemed that folks agreed. Our entire trip was in San Mateo county. We are returning to these waters next Saturday, there are spots left on that trip: good birding Alvaro Alvaro Jaramillo alvaro@...
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