We had a fun and successful 12-hour trip aboard the Point Sur Clipper on Saturday. It was a gorgeoussunny day and the wind never became an issue. There were some large swells and some chop, but they never preventedus from going where we wanted to. We headed west to deep water where the warm water plume met the colder water of the bay, then crisscrossed the outer canyon before returning along the area where the humpbacks are feeding.
We found no mega rarities but had most of the expected species and got superb looks at many of them. There were many Common Murres, almost all in basic plumage already, and many Rhinoceros Auklets; the only other alcid species was a single Pigeon Guillemot near the aquarium. Not a single Cassin's Auklet was found. We had hundreds of Sooty and dozens of Pink-footed Shearwaters and had nice looks at four Buller's Shearwaters. We had several dozen each Sabine's Gulls and Arctic Terns (I have to brush up on my comic terns, I thought we had several Commons but my photos show only Arctic). Western, California, and Heermann's Gulls were quite numerous. We had all three jaeger species with Parasitic being the most numerous.
We had good looks at a Black-footed Albatross and less than desirable looks at a single Ashy Storm-petrel. Red-necked Phalaropes were scattered throughout the trip but most were along and in the kelp close to shore. There were four Great Egrets fishing from the kelp fronds.
The mammal show was spectacular; several humpback whales scattered throughout the trip treated us to a breach, a couple of surface lunges, and a series of tail slaps. We also had a nice pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins and a small pod of Risso's dolphins, and a very cooperative Northern fur seal. The highlight was a tie between Casper, the albino baby Risso's, and a fluking blue whale.
Monterey Seabirds has two more 12-hour and two more 8-hour trips scheduled in the next four weeks, for more info please go to https://www.montereyseabirds.com/ . We hope to see you aboard!
Wildlife Biologist California Whales & Wildlife www.photocetus.com
P.O. Box 1667
San Pedro, CA 90733