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 Oct, 2008 - 3 e-mail(s)...

   Black Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma melania) - BLSP (recent eBird sightings, view CBRC records, range map

  1. Noteworthy Half Moon bay pelagic yesterday - Guadalupe Murrelet; tuna, skuas. LINK
    DATE: Sep 23, 2021 @ 11:15am, 1 year(s) ago
    Hello all, It started very slow, thick fog, no birds. It took forever to see our first Sooty Shearwater. But once we were at the Pioneer Canyon, Sabines, Bullers Shearwater, jaegers, Black Storm-Petrel, they all started to show up. It was calm and windless, and the fog lifted giving great visibility. It was an unusual day in many respects, the calm weather was one, but also the fact that there was warm (61F water) that was blue-green. A distant murrelet (likely Scrippss) started our murrelet searches. In the end we saw 16 murrelets including all that we identified as Scrippss or were too distant to identify. Additionally two Guadalupe Murrelets were in the Pioneer Canyon (SF county) Guadalupe Murrelet is among the rarest of the worlds alcids. Only 5000 breeding individuals are thought to exist, some put the population at 7500 total. They breed on offshore islands, and keep to warmer and deeper water than Scrippss Murrelets so are much less likely to be found on a pelagic than its close relative. As such, they are perhaps the hardest alcid to find in North America, and certainly worldwide it is not much easier. So we were elated to see two of them offshore. This species is Endangered. All three jaegers were found with an estimate of 8 South Polar Skuas, at one time two were together on the water. That is a lot of bird muscle out there! Hundreds of Sabines Gulls were offshore, basically all over the place. We topped it off with a big Black Storm-Petrel flock of two thousand approximately. Four species of storm-petrel were seen, the others were Ashy, Wilsons and Fork-tailed. Great views of Bullers Shearwaters wowed folks on the boat. We also may have seen at least one Guadalupe Fur Seal. If the warm water feel is what you are getting from this day, you would be right. It was unusual in that the ocean was dominated by a warmer/offshore water component that included many jumping tuna! We photographed a couple poorly, and saw some close by we think these were big Bluefin, not Albacore. Record numbers of offshore murrelets, along with the tuna, this was not a normal situation but a lucky one in water types we usually do not encounter here. To top it off, a Minke Whale was seen on our way back to port. And we started with wonderful views of Marbled Murrelets, and saw three Tufted Puffins on the trip. What a day to be out!!! We are sold out currently on available dates. But when I get a minute we will be adding two dates as the boat is available to do so. Both late season trips which should be good for albatross, Short-tailed and Flesh-footed shearwaters, and perhaps something unusual! The dates will be Oct 23 and Nov 13. We seldom get out there in November, this is a good date for Laysan Albatross and if we are to find an offshore and non-injured Short-tailed Albatross November might be the time. I will send out a message when we have the dates available on the website. You can email me ( alvaro@... ) if you want to be penciled in for either of those dates. Alvaro Alvaro Jaramillo alvaro@...
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  3. Monterey Seabirds Trip Report LINK
    DATE: Sep 3, 2021 @ 6:22pm, 1 year(s) ago
    Hi all.
    This is a belated report for Monterey Seabirds' August 22 pelagic birding trip, with apologies.
    Highlights were a Manx Shearwater in a flock of Sooty Shearwaters that spent a few minutes within view, long enough to be seen by everyone on board, and a Tufted Puffin that circledthe Pt. Sur Clipper several times at close range allowing for great views and photos.
    A few more species were unusually cooperative, including a Scripps's Murrelet that spent a considerable amount of time not only close to the boat on the water, but in a perpendicular orientation allowing for great side-on views. One of a handful of Cassin's Auklets also allowed closer-than-usual approaches, and a few of the Black-footed Albatrosses made close passes.
    The weather and sea conditions were favorable and there were good numbers of birds in sight at all times. Our only jaegers were a couple of Parasitic Jaegers, but we had good numbers of Sabine's Gulls and Arctic Terns, with a handful of common terns. We had over 100 Ashy Storm-petrels, some in rafts of about a dozen each, and a couple of dozen Black Storm-petrels. Other species seen in good numbers include Red-necked Phalaropes, Sooty and Pink-footedShearwaters, Rhinoceros Auklets, and Common Murres. We also had three Northern Fulmars.
    The mammal show was also spectacular. We had multiple humpback and blue whales, a couple of minke whales, multiple groups of Pacific white-sided and Risso's dolphins, as well as bow-riding Dall'sporpoises. We also had killer looks at three different Guadalupe fur seals.
    There are still spots available on our upcoming 8-hour trips, including this Sunday, September 5. More info at .
    Take care,
    Bernardo Alps
    Wildlife Biologist California Whales & Wildlife
    P.O. Box 1667
    San Pedro, CA 90733
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  5. Pelagic results from August 28 (Half Moon Bay) and August 29 (Monterey) - loads of good birds! LINK
    DATE: Aug 30, 2021 @ 3:23pm, 1 year(s) ago
    Our string of fantastic Alvaros Adventures pelagics continues!
    Saturday, August 28th
    We departed Half Moon Bay harbor under sunny skies. A lone MARBLED MURRELET and two PARASITIC JAEGERS showed
    before we rounded Mavericks, and we picked-up SOOTY and PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS as we headed offshore. Approaching
    the continental shelf, we found hundreds of BLACK STORM-PETRELS, dozens of ASHY STORM-PETRELS, and double-digits of
    WILSONS STORM-PETRELS. This trip was billed as San Mateo specific, so we did not proceed into the Pioneer Canyon (SF County)
    as we had the two previous weeks; instead, we turned southwest and hugged the county line into deeper water. We added several
    BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES across the next hour, but the action peaked when we encountered several massive rafts of
    storm-petrels (500+ birds each). They, like the group we found earlier, was overwhelmingly Black with Ashy, Wilsons, and 1-2
    FORK-TAILED. A confiding LAYSAN ALBATROSS circled the boat several times, and we found singles of BULLERS SHEARWATER,
    LONG-TAILED JAEGER, POMARINE JAEGER, SABINES GULL, and ARCTIC TERN. Returning inshore, we encountered one
    from the harbor. Otherwise, RHINOCEROS and CASSINS AUKLETS showed in expected numbers. Among dozens of RED-NECKED
    PHALAROPES, 1-2 REDS were welcome. Shearwater and jaeger numbers were very low, but those were offset by huge numbers of
    storm-petrels and other, high-quality finds. With minimal swell, this was a pretty perfect trip! Offshore water temp was 59.5 degrees,
    and we reached a maximum depth of 1,600 feet. (The shelf falls-off very slowly in San Mateo County compared to the 4,000-foot
    Pioneer Canyon in nearby SF waters.)
    Sunday, August 29th
    Translocating to Monterey, we powered south towards Carmel Canyon amidst overcast and fog. Nothing beyond gulls was flying
    around on this windless morning, but we sussed out SOOTY and PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS from floating flocks. Occasional
    jaegers offered distraction, and our first BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS was encouraging. Diversity remained low through the morning,
    but we tacked-on usual suspects like RED-NECKED PHALAROPES and RHINOCEROS and CASSINS AUKLETS. Leaving the canyon,
    joining the underwater weenie, and venturing into the deeper Monterey Seavalley, the action increased. Among swelled shearwater
    numbers, a lone BULLERS the only new variety, we found ARCTIC and COMMON TERNS, ~30 SABINES GULL, a single RED
    PHALAROPE, and 5-6 EXAMPLES OF EACH JAEGER. The highlight, however, was two GUADALUPE MURRELETS, one of which
    allowed pants-soiling views as it paddled about the bow for ten minutes; that amazing encounter helped minimize a notable (distressing)
    lack of storm-petrels across the day, two ASHIES all that we found. In the un-bird department, we observed several HUMPBACK WHALES,
    two NORTHERN FUR SEALS, and a group of LONG-BEAKED COMMON DOLPHINS beyond the expected SEA OTTERS, SEA LIONS, and
    HARBOR SEALS. Offshore water temp was 63-64 degrees, and we reached a maximum depth of ~5,500 feet. The first GUMU was at that
    depth; the second was at 3,000 and only 7-8 miles from Point Pios. Oh yeah - a putative LEAST TERN went over the boat near the
    aquarium, but we'll need to scrutinize photos before we can say for sure. That's a nice MTY County bird if it holds up.
    Our remaining boats are selling out fast, so dont delay if youre thinking about joining us in September and October. August has been
    incredible, so who knows what well find as fall progresses!!!
    Dorian Anderson (on behalf of fellow spotters Malia De Felice, Chris Hayward, Eli Gross, Steve Tucker, Bill Hubick, and Mark Kudrav)
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  7. Nazca Booby and more. LINK
    DATE: Oct 10, 2020 @ 11:35pm, 2 year(s) ago
    Hello all, A quick summary of our very fun pelagic out of Pillar Point Harbor today in calm weather. On our way out we found the first of a few Black-vented Shearwaters, most in San Mateo but one was in San Francisco county. A few Ashy Storm-Petrels were in the Pioneer Canyon, and then farther south we found Black Storm-Petrels. Shearwaters were fantastically well represented, Bullers throughout the trip, and then the most common was Pink-footed. Sooty Shearwaters were about in small numbers, and eventually we found a few Short-tailed Shearwaters in both counties, as well as nice views of Flesh-footed Shearwaters in both counties. We saw two or three, it was difficult to keep track! Six species of shearwaters, not bad. What was great were the nice views of all of the shearwaters, with even a good study of Short-tail which can be difficult to see well in the field. Several South Polar Skuas were found, as well as Pomarine and Parasitic jaeger. But the surprise of the day was when shouts of booby came from the stern of the boat, we assumed there was a fly by happening but no, the bird was sitting in the water. Wow, what a disconcerting look this bird had! From a distance it almost resembled a Blue-footed, but as we got closer it was clear that it was one of the Nazca/Masked. However it was a year old bird. Several keys led us to Nazca Booby, lack of collar on the neck, amount of dark markings on the underwing, extensive dark remaining on the head, and the bill color which was dusky at base, and more pinkish and then yellow at tip. As far as we know this is the first Nazca Booby seen by birders in San Mateo, the first in the county was earlier this year, photographed by fishermen on their boat. The bird was on the county line and flew into San Francisco before exiting to San Mateo, so a two county bird! Incredibly, with all of these birds we did not see an albatross today unfortunately. A surprise flock of Aleutian Cackling Geese were well offshore, and then a single one sitting on the water was bizarre to see. Marine mammals were spectacular with approximately a dozen Blue Whales, many Humpback Whales and a huge (2000) pod of Pacific White-sided Dolphin with Northern Right Whale Dolphins. Bottlenose Dolphins and Harbor Porpoise were also seen close to shore. Blue and Salmon shark were seen! Booby photos here: Flesh foot and Short-tailed photos here: What an amazing day. We head out next weekend, but the trip on the 24 th is the only one with open spots remaining before the end of the season. You can sign up here: good birding, Alvaro Alvaro Jaramillo alvaro@...
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  9. Pelagic trip report - Sun Oct 4. LINK
    DATE: Oct 7, 2020 @ 9:20pm, 2 year(s) ago
    Hello all, Belated trip report, it has been a busy week. Yes, the season has turned, the late season birds are here. Overall the weather was a bit less amenable than the forecast had suggested, this meant we had to go a bit farther north into the weather to get offshore. It worked, and were able to drive south in a following sea through the Pioneer Canyon and then stayed off the continental shelf until we had to head back to port. We started off nicely with a pair of Marbled Murrelets close to shore as well as a couple of Parasitic Jaegers. Heading offshore I did get a very troubling feeling, there was little to nothing other than Common Murres as we went out, it took a long time to see a shearwater! In fact I saw an Ashy Storm-Petrel before I saw a Sooty Shearwater on this trip. But once we arrived at the continental shelf things began to sort out with Sooty, Pink-footed, and Bullers shearwaters, Black-footed Albatross, as well as Rhinoceros and Cassins Auklets. It was a good day for Rhino Auklets, lots out there. Perhaps associated with these numbers we found two Tufted Puffins, a juvenile and a non-breeding adult; puffins at this time of year are very neat to see, so different from the summer. Heading south we picked up more Ashy Storm-Petrels, many Black Storm-Petrels and a Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel. South Polar Skua, two Long-tailed Jaegers (together) and Pomarine jaegers gave us the skua-jaeger grand slam. We picked up Blue Whales, which have been hard to find in central CA, we were able to share this information with Monterey Bay Whalewatch who are working with a TV/Film crew (BBC) and they have been looking for Blue Whales, fortunately our magic spot worked for them a couple of days later and they were able to get some footage that we may see in a documentary in the future! On our way back more Bullers Shearwaters showed up, and a flock of Sooty Shearwaters had an individual that was flying around with a darker underwing, a Short-tailed Shearwater. As well, about 10 miles offshore our first of the season Black-vented Shearwater showed up and a few more in the next 20 minutes or so. All jaegers and South Polar Skua, three species of storm-petrels and 5 species of shearwater, diversity is up! We have two spots on Oct 18, and a few more on the 24 th remaining. Also, I am doing a Big Walk for Rhinoceros Auklets a walking big day next week where I am asking for donations to Oikonos for the Ao Nuevo Island project, restoring habitat and monitoring Rhinoceros and Cassins Auklets on the island. Hopefully I can break 110 species on foot power, and will likely walk about 20 miles assuming I survive!! Please donate more details here: good birding! Alvaro Alvaro Jaramillo alvaro@...
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  11. Re: San Diego pelagic 9/19: Red-footed Booby, Buller's, Least Storm-Petrels, L-t Jaeger LINK
    DATE: Sep 20, 2020 @ 10:59am, 2 year(s) ago
    Paul I think the Black Storm-Petrels are up here, hundreds regularly in the last couple of weeks in San Mateo County, lesser numbers but still notable in San Francisco county. So perhaps overall productivity is low in your part of the ocean this year Interestingly we are not getting a push of Black-vented Shearwaters yet, just Black Storm-Petrel. It will be interesting to see what is going on out of Morro Bay next weekend. We have trips on Oct 4, 17 and 24 (last two dates are new) out of Half Moon Bay, it has generally been nicely active out of this port! Alvaro Alvaro Jaramillo alvaro@...
    toggle quoted message Show quoted text
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  13. San Diego pelagic 9/19: Red-footed Booby, Buller's, Least Storm-Petrels, L-t Jaeger LINK
    DATE: Sep 20, 2020 @ 5:38am, 2 year(s) ago
    The San Diego pelagic trip on 19 September, sponsored by Buena Vista Audubon Society, was aboard "Legacy" out of Mission Bay. We went out to
    the 9-Mile and 30-Mile Banks, as usual. Sea conditions were a bit bumpy and choppy when traveling west and northwest, but fine when going all other directions. The sea conditions made spotting some storm-petrels and all alcids difficult. Highlights included a cafe-au-lait Red-footed
    Booby just shy of the 30-Mile Bank, a Buller's Shearwater only 2 miles off the beach, a juvenile Long-tailed Jaeger, and some 6 Least Storm-Petrels, mostly on the 9-Mile Bank. Photos of all of these will appear in upcoming eBird lists. As has been the case now for a solid year, overall numbers for most species are fairly low and there are appreciable stretches with very low numbers of birds. Species seen offshore (beyond 2 miles) were:
    Red-necked Phalarope 30
    Red Phalarope 1
    Pomarine Jaeger 7
    Parasitic Jaeger 2
    LONG-TAILED JAEGER 1 juv. (21 mi. WSW of Point Loma)
    jaeger sp. 2
    Sabine's Gull 1
    California Gull 7
    Western Gull 240
    Common Tern 7
    Elegant Tern 35
    Leach's Storm-Petrel 5
    Black Storm-Petrel 48
    LEAST STORM-PETREL 6 (5 along outer edge of 9-Mile Bank, 1 'only' ca. 8.5 mi. W of Sunset Cliffs)
    Pink-footed Shearwater 28
    BULLER'S SHEARWATER 1 (only 2 mi. off Ocean Beach)
    Sooty Shearwater 1
    Black-vented Shearwater 1150
    Brown Booby 1
    RED-FOOTED BOOBY 1 (26.3 mi WSW La Jolla, near inside edge of 30-Mile Bank)
    Brown Pelican 1
    Brandt's Cormorant 1
    The next (and last trip for 2020) pelagic trip is again aboard "Legacy" out of Seaforth Sportfishing and is scheduled for 4 October. Ten hours, and presumably we will return to the 9-Mile and 30-Mile Bank areas. Details at
    --Paul Lehman, Dave Povey, Nancy Christensen, et al., San Diego
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  15. Storm Petrels - expand!! Trip reports from pelagics out of Half Moon Bay. LINK
    DATE: Sep 17, 2020 @ 8:22pm, 2 year(s) ago
    Hello all, Sunday and Monday (Sept 13 and 14), we went out from Pillar Point Harbor, into San Mateo and San Francisco waters. The Sunday trip was the SF country trip, where we maximize time in San Francisco county waters. We went to the Pioneer Canyon that day and had a great surprise, we found storm petrels out there. But first, on this day we did have multiple passerines fly by, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Wilsons Warblers, Audubons (Yellow-rumped) Warbler, Townsends Warbler, Merlin!, and perhaps a rarer warbler. It had pale at the base of the tail, but no good photos could be taken. One cowbird and a Wilsons Warbler eventually rode the boat back to shore. A boat fishing about 8 miles from shore texted us photos of a Magnolia Warbler that had landed on their boat, unfortunately it did not choose our boat. But what was exciting was finding flocks of Ashy Storm-Petrels in Pioneer Canyon, recall that the week before we found Black Storm-Petrels, but well south in San Mateo County. These were mainly Ashy, with a scattering of Black as well as Wilsons Storm-Petrels . On our best hour count, we estimated 600 Ashy Storm-Petrels . We lucked out as well with a San Francisco Flesh-footed Shearwater , our first of the season and we are looking forward to seeing many more. On the next day, we were not limited to San Francisco so we came up with a plan. How about looking for the Pioneer Canyon storm-petrels, and then heading south to where the Black Storm-Petrels had been the week before Our plan worked amazingly well. The big surprise was a super easy to see Minke Whale close to shore, not always a whale that allows for photography. We did not have the passerine fall out today, but a lost Black Turnstone about 10 miles out was trying to land on the boat. Once at the Pioneer Canyon we found the flocks of storm petrels again, this time maxing out with approximately 500 birds. But our diversity went up, finding Ashy, Black, Wilsons and Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels . Bullers Shearwater showed up today. We then went south into San Mateo County, looking for the Black Storm-Petrel flocks, and on our way we found 2-3 Sabines Gulls which have been sparce this year. Early in the afternoon we found the Black Storm-Petrels, approximately 425 mixed with Ashy and a few Wilsons. Amazing, in one day we had gone from a concentration of Ashy to a totally different site with a concentration of Black Storm-Petrels. It was another fantastic study opportunity for storm petrels. We found Black-footed Albatross, Pink-footed and Sooty shearwaters, Northern Fulmar, Rhinoceros and Cassins auklets, Common Murre, Parasitic and Pomarine jaegers. Other critters included Humpback Whale, Salmon Shark, Mola mola, California and Stellers sea lions, Northern Fur Seal and Northern Elephant seal. The weather was good, we are excited about our trip this Saturday but it is sold out. Our next trips to this part of the ocean are on Oct 4, 17, and 24. The last two dates were just added. We have expanded our trips to later dates when numbers of albatross should increase, and we have high probability of finding Short-tailed Shearwater, as well as Flesh-footed Shearwater. Cross your fingers, but these late dates may also be good for Short-tailed Albatross. We will be on the lookout, Laysan Albatross will be a good chance and perhaps Ancient Murrelets may have started to show up by then. You can book and reserve here: Good birding Alvaro Jaramillo alvaro@...
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  17. Trip report - Record Black Storm-Petrel count!! LINK
    DATE: Sep 8, 2020 @ 10:52pm, 2 year(s) ago
    Hello all, We had an amazing pelagic out of Half Moon Bay yesterday in sunny weather. The storm-petrelpalooza continued, and numbers were even higher than on Saturday. We estimated 1600 Black Storm-Petrels during one hour long transect, with 60 or so Ashy Storm-Petrels, and 7 or so Wilsons Storm-Petrels. This is the highest number we can find for San Mateo county waters, ever. A record haul! What was just fantastic was that we not only found flocks, but the birds were coming very close to the boat when we sat and idled, with opportunities for great photography. I am sure that more fantastic photos will be uploaded to the list: Again, it is difficult to put into words how fantastic the experience was. Just non-stop storm-petrels, multiple views. Over and over, and you could really see the flight style differences between Ashy and Black storm-petrels. We are all still going through our photos, as hundreds if not more were taken by each person there with a camera! Some of the Black Storm-Petrels were in San Francisco county, but the big numbers were to the south in San Mateo. We found three Tufted Puffins, many and close Black-footed Albatross, an abundance of Common Murres, Rhinoceros Auklets, Pink-footed and Sooty shearwaters along with other common seabirds. Finally, jaegers were found in larger numbers, and all three species were seen including a fantastic adult Long-tailed right over our boat by Juan Pablo Galvan. Thanks for that spot! We were all looking at storm petrels, great that someone was looking up. The Humpback Whales put on an amazing show once again, with a group of feeding whales foraging right by the boat, putting on quite a show. We are heading out of Monterey on Saturday the 12 th , and return to Half Moon Bay on Monday Sept 14. There are 4 spots remaining for our Monday trip. You can reserve and book directly here: Good birding to you either on land or out on the water! Alvaro Alvaro Jaramillo alvaro@...
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  19. San Mateo County pelagic report - Storm Petrels! LINK
    DATE: Sep 5, 2020 @ 10:38pm, 2 year(s) ago
    Hello all, I had gone to sleep seeing 17 knot winds offshore on the computer, and wondering what things would be like in the morning. Well, winds were down to 10 knots, the sky was cloudless and suddenly what was an impending poor weather trip was going to be fine. It was better than fine, it was wonderful. As has been the norm recently Common Murres were in the harbor, and masses of Elegant Terns were fishing the anchovy that are trapped in the harbor by the millions. We headed out and the first good sign was that an Ashy Storm-Petrel was seen about 10 miles out, closer than we usually see one. In fact on the way back in, there was one 3 miles from shore, definitely a record for us. Closer to shore than we ever see them. As is typical the line of Sooty Shearwaters was out there a few miles out, and lots of Common Murres with a single remaining (they leave early) Pigeon Guillemot. As we reached greater distances from the coast we found Pink-footed Shearwaters, a few Northern Fulmar and Rhinoceros Auklet. When we arrived near the Half Moon Bay weather buoy, things picked up, more shearwaters, Black-footed albatross and a nice fly by Laysan Albatross! What we assume was the same Laysan came back and gave even better views about 40 minutes later. Wilsons Storm-Petrel caused a thrill, as one came close to the boat. Little did we know that we would see several before the days end. Most storm petrels were Ashy, but eventually we found a Black Storm-Petrel, and from there on in, they took over the show. Progressively more common on each section of the trip as we headed south. Eventually we had an hour period when we tallied over 400! Some coming in for great views. Some photos here: The numbers do not do justice to the experience. For hours Black Storm-Petrels were constantly in view, so were many Ashy, and a few Wilsons here and there. Comparison between Ashy and Black was possible repeatedly, the bouncing flight of the long-winged Black Storm-Petrel is something we looked at so intently today, and on so many individuals that we will likely see those images as we fall asleep tonight. It was truly a great trip to really learn this species. Amazing! Another superb experience was spotting the Laysan Albatross, presumably the same one as earlier, and then Dorian Anderson yelling that he had just seen a second! Eventually, the two birds sat together at a distance from us, confirming two Laysan Albatrosses at the same time. To think that at one time it was thought that San Mateo County was not good for pelagics! It is fantastic for pelagics. Return to port surprise was a Tufted Puffin that buzzed the boat. Several Humpback Whales were enjoyed, including some lunge feeding individuals. We hope to replay some of this, with the caveat that things can change on a dime in the ocean, on Monday. Weather is forecast to be pretty calm on Monday and we can assure you that it will be cool out there. So if you want to try your luck with seabirds, and escape the heat, we have 4 spots left: take care, Alvaro Alvaro Jaramillo alvaro@...
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  21. Pelagic report - Half Moon Bay Aug 30. Amazing abundance! and rarities. LINK
    DATE: Aug 30, 2020 @ 3:55pm, 2 year(s) ago
    Hello all, The trip started out slowly, with nearly nothing over the continental shelf on our way offshore. I was getting a bit worried, an Ashy Storm-Petrel about 15 miles offshore was a good sign though. Then we got to the continental shelf edge and it was just crazy, thousands of birds, and masses of Humpback Whales. Maybe 40 or so whales within a mile, and perhaps during the day we saw over 5-10% of the population of Pink-footed Shearwaters, thousands! They were at times much more abundant than the Sooty, just the perfect setup for a super rare shearwater to show up in. Our meter (the sonar) wash showing solidly 300-500 feet of solid bait fish below us, can you even imagine how many millions of anchovy that is Black-footed Albatross were a constant sight, and near the Half Moon Bay weather buoy we found a gorgeous juvenile Laysan Albatross in San Mateo county ( ), this is the first Laysan of the year for us. Ashy Storm-Petrels were in both San Mateo and San Francisco counties, while Black Storm-Petrel was only in San Mateo, and Fork-tailed was in San Francisco ( ). The jaegers, terns and Sabines are still largely missing, we wonder if they have not moved south yet or if they are going well offshore Lots and lots of both Red and Red-necked phalaropes. The numbers of Common Murres were huge, with nice looks at Rhinoceros Auklets and a bonus Tufted Puffin in San Mateo on the way back. Big surprise was a Lucys Warbler that flew around the boat and did not land. In the gray skies offshore it was tough to get a good handle of the ID, particularly since the bird had a dark looking throat from wet feathers there. But eventually when looking at the photos in the cabin it became clear that it was a Lucys, in San Francisco county, and this explained why it looked so tiny . It was flying with a Brown-headed Cowbird which weirdly enough would go and fly to it when the warbler became more distant, like it was trying to flock with it. Blue Sharks, and Mola mola were enjoyed along with the bird and whales. But definitely the super abundance of shearwaters and murres out there was what will be remembered. We have a few spots open still for the trip on Saturday. Monterey Albacore grounds on the 12 th is also open still. Alvaro Alvaro Jaramillo alvaro@...
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  23. Pelagic report - and Pelagic opportunities. LINK
    DATE: Aug 4, 2020 @ 4:10pm, 2 year(s) ago
    Hello all, My apologies for sending to various groups all at one time. But, this Saturday we did our first offshore pelagic of the season, from Half Moon Bay (San Mateo County). We have been doing trips to the Farallon Islands, but those have a limited time in deeper water, so I thought folks would be interested in knowing what is out there in the central CA offshore waters now. In short, it is pretty interesting and diverse with element suggesting this will be a warm water year with elements of the south moving north, and it is a season that is amazingly abundant as far as ocean productivity goes. We saw four species of storm-petrels, with groups of Ashy, and a scattering of Fork-tailed, Wilsons, and Black storm-petrels. The Black are always of interest to us, since they do not always make it to our latitude, being dependent on what the conditions are like farther to the south. The weather was choppy, with a flatter ocean we would likely have found more and larger flocks of storm petrels. Where we found them, the water was warmer and more translucent, offshore water. We did find all three jaegers, as well as South Polar Skua which was early. There are good densities of Cassins Auklets out there, we found a gorgeous adult Tufted Puffin as well as the more expected alcids including Marbled Murrelets at the coast. Good numbers of Black-footed Albatross and nice densities of Pink-footed and Sooty shearwaters, earlier in the season Bullers showed up (again early). Sabines Gulls are heading south, including our first juvenile of the season. Right now tens of thousands of Sooty Shearwaters are close to the beach in Half Moon Bay, this is a year with lots of anchovy, lots of krill and also squid. Abundance is the word. There is so much krill out there that the Cassins Auklets are trying to pull off a second brood due to the abundance of food. Meanwhile the Rhinoceros Auklets are feeding on 100% anchovy. The real oddity in the region has been the arrival of Bluefin tuna off Monterey, and Half Moon Bay. Big ones, averaging over 150 lbs each. This is not the norm, but is super exciting as it suggests northward movement of southern critters. Similarly, we had a good look at a Guadalupe Fur Seal offshore a little known marine mammal that seems to be found in warm water years. Warm offshore water has been peeking close to Monterey Bay recently. The combination of potential for some warm water birds offshore, and lots and lots of food closer to shore is great! We have consistently found awesome feeding congregations of Humpback Whales about 10 miles offshore. On this last trip we also found Fin Whale where the Cassins Auklets were (krill feeding we assume), and a super pod of hundreds and hundreds of Pacific White-sided Dolphins with a good number of the always dapper Northern Right Whale Dolphin. Blue Whale has been seen this year, but not this last weekend. It is early in the season and it is already pretty awesome offshore. I think this is going to be a great year for pelagics, and unfortunately not that many people are going to be able to enjoy it. We have a full schedule of trips out of Monterey and Half Moon Bay, Morro Bay is sold out, but are going with half or less of the boat capacity. On the trips we are encouraging people to be outside, in the breeze, social distance and to wear masks. As such, on the various trips we have done people have felt comfortable and safe. Key is to consider that the science clarifies that being outside, in the breeze, and in humid and salty air is a low risk situation. Crew are diligently disinfecting the boat, and ample sanitizer is available. One of the net benefits is a lot more room on the boats this year, and in Monterey keep in mind that the boats are much larger allowing for good spacing of birders and naturalists. Particularly this year, being out on the ocean is special, with nature abounding and away from the news, it is invigorating and good for the soul! Our next trip is an offshore Monterey trip on Aug 14, we are hoping to get into the real deep waters on this day and see if we can find some offshore murrelets and other goodies. The upcoming Farallon island trips are sold out. Our schedule of trips is here: See you at sea! Alvaro Alvaro Jaramillo alvaro@...
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  25. 32 COOK'S PETRELS and 2 Craveri's in San Diego & L. A. County waters; possible future chase trip? LINK
    DATE: Jun 27, 2020 @ 3:03pm, 2 year(s) ago
         Today, Saturday the 27th, Dave Povey, Nancy Christensen, and I
         went offshore, the main purpose being to visit the waters in the
         extreme southwest corner of the county, about 25-29 nautical miles
         from the tip of Point Loma and immediately bordering both Los
         Angeles County and Mexican waters. The waters offshore between the
         mainland and the inside edge of the 30-Mile Bank are currently
         amazingly dead, with very, very small numbers and an incredibly
         low diversity of birds. Once up on the 30-Mile Bank, just north of
         the international border, we starting finding a number of small-
         to medium-sized rafts of Black Storm-Petrels, Then, in the deeper
         water (2200-2400 feet; 67.7 F) beyond the shallowest section of
         the bank--right near where the international boundary makes an
         obvious 90-degree jog to the south, we starting seeing COOK'S
         PETRELS, many feeding with storm-petrels or just sitting in small
         groups on the water. We totaled at least 24 Cook's in San Diego
         County waters and at least 16 in L. A. County and 5 in Baja
         waters, with a bit of duplication as birds moved across the
         boundaries (as calculated by us!). Despite our working cameras
         only including a single super-zoom and a couple cell-phones,
         reasonable photos were obtained. We also had a pair of CRAVERI'S
         MURRELETS, an unseasonal Sabine's Gull, a one-year-old Common
         Tern, and 4 well-offshore Least Terns, all just inside L. A.
         County waters. There are only several previous sightings of Cook's
         Petrels inside San Diego County waters, and these involved just
         single birds.
         Before I list the day's totals, if there is enough interest in
         chartering a fishing/whalewatching boat for a "chase-trip" at some
         point sooner rather than later (the next regularly scheduled San
         Diego pelagic trip is not until mid-August), then Dave Povey is
         willing to inquire of the local boat landings to see if any boat
         is available. The cost would depend on what the charter costs
         divided by the number of people going. Let Dave know if you are
         potentially interested and whether any day of the week will work
         for you or if only weekends are do-able. Conditions can change
         rapidly offshore, so there is certainly no guarantee of success!
         This is now the beginning of the very busy fishing season, and
         whale sightings have just recently increased, so this all may be a
         moot point--but it's worth a try if there is enough interest out
         there. Dave's e-mail address is
         Today's list:
         Cook's Petrel: 32+
         Pink-footed Shearwater: 6
         Sooty Shearwater: 20
         Black-vented Shearwater: 4
         Ashy Storm-Petrel: 18
         Black Storm-Petrel: ca. 700
         Craveri's Murrelet: 2
         Cassin's Auklet: 4
         Sabine's Gull: 1
         Heermann's Gull: 1
         Western Gull: 8
         Least Tern: 6
         Common Tern: 1
         Elegant Tern: 80
         Brown Pelican: 25
         --Paul Lehman, San Diego
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  27. Ventura pelagic trip - 5 Oct 2019 LINK
    DATE: Oct 5, 2019 @ 10:58pm, 3 year(s) ago
    Tired after a full day on the ocean so here is a quick trip report for our pelagic trip today with Island Packers out of Ventura. Low winds, mild seas, and clear skies made for a great day on the water that was characterized by impressive seabird numbers and diversity. Our trip took us from the Ventura Harbor to Anacapa Island, the waters south of the northern Channel Islands west to the Santa Cruz Canyon, across the Santa Cruz Basin to the Pilgrim Bank, and then back to Ventura. Other than a few slow spots we had numbers of birds spread throughout the day with the following highlights:
    Brown Booby on the Anacapa Arch - our only booby of the day Craveri's Murrelets - 32 plus a number of "sps" that were likely Craveri's Scripps's Murrelet - 1 very unseasonal bird that gave extended views near the boat
    Cassin's Auklets - several including at least one cooperative bird near the boat South Polar Skua - at least 7; most giving great views Parasitic, Pomarine, and Long-tailed Jaegers Buller's Shearwaters - two elusive individuals among the larger Pink-footed flocks Pink-footed Shearwater - 500+ including several sizable flocks south of the islands Sooty Shearwater - scattered individuals among the Pink-footed flocks Black-vented Shearwater - 600+ in the Santa Barbara Channel
    Black Storm-Petrel - 500+ including several large flocks Ashy Storm-Petrel - scattered individuals Leach's Storm-Petrel - one bird seen by only a few people Northern Fulmar - only one all day Sabine's Gull - only one all day Red-necked Phalarope - modest numbers; surprisingly no Reds
    One odd looking shearwater passed the boat that may have been a Wedge-tailed Shearwater, but it was gone quickly and not refound. Had to let that one go.
    Thanks to Island Packers for another great trip...we hope to have more scheduled in 2020.
    Dave Pereksta Ventura
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    DATE: Oct 2, 2019 @ 4:13pm, 3 year(s) ago
    Hello, CAL Birders,
    After blowing at gale force all day and into the evening of September 28th (forcing us to cancel our Half Moon Bay departure that day), it was hard to believe that the seas would actually lay down enough for us to get out the next day.
    Much to our delight, the seas laid down nicely, and we had a beautiful day, September 29, 2019 on the Shearwater Journeys pelagic trip from Half Moon Bay.
    Id like to say that the light morph WEDGE-TAILED SHEARWATER was the highlight of the day, but sadly it was only seen by two birders on the boat. Perhaps, it will be found on another trip this fall. Its possible because weve done it before. Im unsure whether this shearwater was in San Mateo or San Francisco County. We are working on that.
    Nevertheless, Shearwater Journeys had a fantastic pelagic trip with nearly 100 BULLERS SHEARWATERS, one SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER, 18 WILSONS STORM-PETRELS, 49 ASHY STORM-PETRELS, and 26 BLACK STORM-PETRELS. The storm-petrels, shearwaters, jaegers, and SOUTH POLAR SKUAS showed well in the stern where many folks obtained good images. SABINES GULLS were scarce with only 3 recorded. Only one ARCTIC TERN was recorded. BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES showed well and NORTHERN/PACIFIC FULMAR numbers increased to 22.
    A few CASSINS AUKLETS, plenty of RHINOCEROS AUKLETS, 2 TUFTED PUFFINS and nearly 2000 COMMON MURRES rounded out the alcids.
    Numbers of phalaropes were low with only 1 RED-NECKED and 3 REDS.
    The cetacean show was dominated by as many as 8 BLUE WHALES and 25 HUMPBACK WHALES, although one very friendly humpback whale stole the show popping up and looking at us repeatedly from one side of the boat to the other. I havent seen such a friendly humpback in a few years.
    Even though the sea surface temperatures at Monterey Bay averaged 60-62 F all day on Friday, September 27th, the SSTs at Half Moon Bay only two days later were much cooler, averaging 53-55 F. Lots of mixing going on! We birded in both San Mateo and San Francisco Counties.
    Shearwater Journeys next trip with space available is Friday, October 11 departing from Monterey. Email me for a reservation: debi@... .
    Living the Salt Life, Debi Shearwater
    DEBRA SHEARWATER Shearwater Journeys, Inc. PO Box 190 Hollister, CA 95024 831.637.8527 debi@...
    Celebrating 44 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater Journeys
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