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 Month/Year Breakdown (Top 15):

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 Oct, 2006 - 10 e-mail(s)...
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 Oct, 2008 - 6 e-mail(s)...
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   Sabine's Gull
Sabine's Gull
Xema sabini

   Sabine's Gull (Xema sabini) - SAGU (recent eBird sightings, view CBRC records, range map

  1. the future (and data veracity) of spring "repositioniong" cruises LINK
    DATE: May 1, 2023 @ 11:21am, 5 month(s) ago
    With at least two or three of the several northbound "repositioning" cruises having now taken place this spring between s. California and Vancouver, I thought I might share some info I have on potential future cruises and on the current situation. I have been taking these cruises now for well over 10 years and have logged 20+ of them during spring and summer, although I did not go on any of this year's trips.
    Clearly there were plenty of Murphy's Petrels and a moderate number of Hawaiian Petrels offshore this year. With perhaps average numbers of Laysan Albatrosses. But very few Cook's Petrels. Cook's is often a "feast or famine" species, with large numbers some years in late April and early May, and then very few/virtually none during others. The numbers of the other pterodromas also vary from year to year, but not seemingly with as wild the swings, and they often vary due more to how many sharp observers are on board and, especially, on how much wind there is on a given a cruise (typically the more wind the better for all three species!). One windy cruise this spring had a total of 550 Murphy's, a new single-cruise record, beating last year's new record of ca. 350.
    I also heard that the trip with all the Murphy's (and ca. 15 Hawaiians) also had as many as 80 birders on board. These numbers can get unwieldy, especially if there is limited good railing space due to wind and lighting making some sites unusable at times. Trying to get everyone corralled, not having them block the passage of all the non-birding cruise guests wishing to use the same deck for walking/jogging, and trying to coordinate list totals, photos, and details via shared eBird lists just gets more and more difficult. With the increasing popularity of these trips for a good chance at comfortably seeing numbers of Hawaiian, Murphy's, and Cook's Petrels, Laysan Albatross, Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel, Tufted Puffin, etc. etc., such crowds have steadily been increasing on some of the sailings for a number of years. And these birder crowds are likely to get even WORSE in the near future for the following reason: Some or all of the cruise lines seem to be reducing the number of such cruises that go non-stop between SanDiego/Los Angeles and Victoria/Vancouver, and are adding stops along the way, which reduces time spent well offshore during daylight and also adds days and cost to these trips. Not a good trend!
    So, I would suggest that folks look at the VARIETY of April and May offerings from a variety of cruise lines from either Los Angeles or San Diego. If you care about exactly which counties' waters you pass through during daylight, then the port of choice may well be important. Otherwise, either one is equally likely to produce those desired species mentioned above, and other factors such as the weather conditions during the trip, having some sharp-eyed observers on board, or simple luck are all going to be more important factors. Almost all birders to date have taken either Princess from Los Angeles or Holland America from San Diego (where one also sees Black Storm-Petrel and Scripps's Murrelet the first afternoon), but one might also wish to look into any offerings from (mostly Los Angeles) on Celebrity, Norweigan, or Disney cruise lines--and in that case you will have the railings mostly to yourself. I would also suggest, for those with a few more days available, looking into the 10-day or 12-day round-trip cruises on Princess from either Los Angeles or San Francisco up to southeast Alaska and back--doing so in May or early June for these same species--which go northbound even much farther offshore (up to 150+ miles out off n. OR to s. BC, where Mottled Petrel is possible in May), and come back southbound along the same repositioning route, in reverse, that the shorter, one-way trips do. So, you get almost double the amount of offshore time.
    One other issue I'd like to mention on these cruises is the somewhat distressing amount of mis-called, mis-identified species (and numbers), or mis-plotted locations, that get reported on an all-too-often basis. This makes the situation really tough for regional editors, eBird reviewers, etc., who have to wade through the masses of reports after the trips are completed. With so many birders on board, theres no way to share
    checklists across so many folks, and honestly thats not appropriate
    anyway, given the fact that people
    come and go, move from one side to the other, etc. Many sub-groups on the boat are basically separate sampling units
    with their own biases and skill levels. But even without those issues, there seems to be a high level of "pressure" to see these desired birds, and on a regular basis it is fairly easy to see folks cutting corners and pulling the trigger too quickly on some distant and incompletely seen species that should be left unidentified. Too much "conventional wisdom" applied to species which "should" occur in those waters but which may be rare or absent some years (e.g., Cook's Petrel). We've also seen visiting first-timers on these West Coast cruises who are not accustomed to cruise-ship birding and/or who are skilled in another part of North America or the offshore World and assume they are therefore skilled here and then make regular mistakes--especially if they do not appreciate, at the time of the sighting, the proper STATUS & DISTRIBUTION of these species at the various seasons and along the various stretches of these routes. And the conditions can be challenging at times, depending on the weather and how close or far the birds are away from the ship, which varies a lot from day to day and trip to trip. Some of the most regularly mis-identified species are distant arcing Pink-footed Shearwaters being called Hawaiian Petrels, distant arcing or just plain poorly seen Sooty Shearwaters being called Murphy's Petrels, distant Bonaparte's/Sabine's Gulls or even Red-necked Phalaropes being called Cook's Petrels, Cassin's Auklets with plenty of pale on the belly being called Parakeet Auklets, and poorly/incompletely seen Rhinoceros Auklets being called Tufted Puffins.
    The situation is made even worse by some observers writing somewhat "canned" descriptions of what they think they have seen. I have read too many reports of distant Cook's Petrels in April-May which include details such as "arcing very high in the sky as this species does" and "bold dark 'M' across the upperwing." Well, very, very few of the Cook's in spring do these things on these trips!! They are almost all in substantial molt here in spring, and they look very messy (mottled) above, with some brownish tones and NOT showing a bold M; and even under windy conditions they mostly stay fairly low to the water and in a rapid, somewhat twisty flight. If one sees Cook's later in summer, once they have completed molt, then they do look fresh and with bold dark 'M's" across the upperside, and they do tend to arc up more.
    These trips are great social fun and a great opportunity to see species that are difficult to see comfortably, or at all, elsewhere. But some of these trips could be too popular, so observers are encouraged to try to "spread the wealth." And please make extra efforts to report one's sightings with care.
    --Paul Lehman, San Diego
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  3. Long-term (future) Lancaster sewage ponds access, and a field trip LINK
    DATE: Mar 10, 2023 @ 12:59pm, 7 month(s) ago
    Hi, 1. There will be a combined field trip to both the Lancaster Water Treatment Plant (referred to by birders as the Lancaster Sewage Ponds) and the Piute Ponds inside of Edwards Air Force Base (restricted access) *next* weekend. They are using buses to take tour participants from one location to the other. As soon as I receive the link for signing up, I will email it out. [I think the tour that was supposed to happen tomorrow was at the Palmdale facility not the Lancaster facility]
    2. I have been working with a County employee who is not stationed in Lancaster on the possibility of restoring access to the Lancaster sewage ponds to occasional visits by birders (after the Bean Goose flies home to Siberia, and we want to get Sabine's Gull or Baird's Sandpiper on our LA County year list). He will need to discuss this with his higher ups. This negotiation may take a while, so even if it does happen, there maybe a time gap between the goose leaving and when a limited number of us are able to resume access to occasional visits.
    Thomas Geza Miko
    Claremont, LA County
    "With a sufficiently large sample size a correlation can at once be both very significant and too small worth discussing."--Daniel Kahneman
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  5. Oct 1 Ventura for the ages LINK
    DATE: Oct 2, 2022 @ 6:41am, 1 year(s) ago
    On Saturday Oct 1, we ran our annual fall pelagic trip with Island Packers from the Ventura Harbor. We had a great forecast and a nice setup of sea conditions so we left the harbor with a game plan and a sense of optimism. That didn't last very long after we heard radio chatter that the Navy was firing a missile at some point during the morning, which closed off most of the waters south of the Channel Islands. Our hopes that this exercise would be done by 0930 dragged on through the morning and we had to adjust our route with the severe limitations imposed upon us. It is tough to stay focused when the radio in the wheel house is blowing up with constant communication between the Navy and the fishing fleet; the latter of which was violating the boundaries of the closure so frequently that the launch had to be delayed again and again. With our hopes of visiting Santa Barbara Island and it's booby colony becoming more unrealistic by the minute, we adjusted and here is how the day went...
    After leaving the harbor we started the trip with an unusual surprise when we found rafts of thousands of Black-vented Shearwaters sitting on the water right past the breakwaters. The birds must have been feeding all night as they were piled up on the water and not as skittish as they might normally be. We had great looks, which included several leucistic birds, and then moved on to Anacapa Island. The crossing was slow bird wise, but Anacapa provided our first thrill of the day after we found a Brown Booby and then a Masked Booby perched below the lighthouse on the east end of Anacapa. These two birds just sat there giving everyone on board great views.
    Our original intention from here was to run west-southwest before eventually turning towards Santa Barbara Island. With the missile launch still pending the Navy told us we couldn't go south and we had to stay with a few miles of the islands. We adjusted and moved west on the south side of Anacapa and Santa Cruz. We were rewarded with nearly 30 Craveri's Murrelets behind Anacapa and as we headed west into Santa Barbara County waters we had great looks at a few close Ashy Storm-Petrels. This run was slow but we did have a few jaegers of all three species and the three expected species of shearwaters (Black-vented, Pink-footed, and Sooty) among other birds. We had hoped we would be cleared to move south somewhere along this route but it did not happen so we continued to the Santa Rosa Passage where we checked Bird Rock and found a Peregrine Falcon and a pair of Bald Eagles sitting on a midden on the adjacent part of Santa Cruz Island.
    Moving into the Santa Cruz Canyon, we encountered some small flocks of Pink-footed Shearwaters that had other birds feeding with them and then somewhere off the east end of Santa Rosa Island, the day went haywire. Not long after finding Curtis Marantz his long-awaited Santa Barbara County Craveri's Murrelet, we had a few shearwaters in front of the boat when one of our sharp-eyed passengers said, "there is a white-headed Pink-footed in this flock." Linda Terrill said that I leapt off the deck at this point, but among a series of expletives flowing from my mouth were the two words I have only ever yelled once before in unison from a boat...STREAKED SHEARWATER!!!!!! Among a ton of out-of-control emotions and ensuing panic of birders, we just stopped the boat, started getting everyone on the bird, carefully evaluated our ID to make sure we weren't looking at a white-headed Pink-footed Shearwater, and then spent an extensive amount of time with this bird. Finding rare seabirds is often tricky business as some birds fly by the boat quickly or a bird flushes, never to be seen again. Many times only a few people on board see the very rare ones. However...Captain Joel Barrett managed the boat impeccably and everyone had incredible views of this mega rarity (Only the 20th for the state and the second off southern California). Although it flushed a few times, the low winds had the shearwaters settling back on the water so we had repeated looks at it. We quickly forgot about the travel restrictions imposed by the Navy which had ultimately and serendipitously led us to this bird. There it is...rare bird found, a boat full of satisfied birders, day is done...hardly!
    The Navy pulled their restrictions, but we would not have time to head to SBI. We followed the shearwaters south along the eastern part of the Santa Rosa Flats and the number of birds increased ultimately revealing a few Buller's Shearwaters. A few birders got their life Streaked before their life Buller' is not fair. While still working the Streaked we found a Nazca Booby sitting on the water; our third booby of the day. We also had another interesting bird flash by that may have been a Wedge-tailed Shearwater. The winds were increasing so the birds were becoming more mobile. We did gather some photos of distant flocks on the water where we believed this bird briefly settled so we will see if we can find it after-the-fact. They were not very cooperative.
    Our run south and then east into the deep waters of the Santa Cruz Basin continued to produce birds and we started finding storm-petrels including Black, Ashy, and Least. Our jaeger numbers were increasing and as we traversed the basin we had impressive numbers of Long-tailed Jaegers with decent numbers of Pomarines and a few Parasitics. Here and elsewhere starting at the Santa Rosa Passage, we also found a few South Polar Skuas. Along our run east we continued to encounter Craveri's Murrelets which were often clumped by pairs in loose groups of as many as 10-12 birds in view at a time. We will see what our eBird reveals, but we certainly had somewhere in the ballpark of 50-100 for the day. They were the most abundant alcid by far, but we did have a few Cassin's Auklets and Rhinoceros Auklets. The jaeger show continued with a few flocks chasing groups of Common Terns and Sabine's Gulls. Careful inspection of the tern flocks found us a few Arctic and Black Terns as well. The number of birds in the Santa Cruz Basin was awesome and our ride back was filled with jaegers, terns, shearwaters, murrelets, and phalaropes.
    I joked that when life gives you lemons, you spike the lemonade with tequila and have the kind of day we ultimately had at sea. While we reflected that the day would have been great even without the Streaked Shearwater, we are not trading that one in. We will remember this one for a long time. Many thanks to Joel Barrett and Island Packers for supporting our pelagic trips and working with us to consistently provide great pelagic experiences. I also want to give a shout-out to our leaders who busted their butts all day...many thanks to Jon Feenstra, Peter Gaede, Hugh Ranson, Bob Schallmann, and Wes Fritz. Among the kind words I received as we wrapped up was sentiments from one very seasoned pelagic birder and dear friend who said she was impressed at how well people worked together and that there was a pleasant vibe on the boat throughout the day. One for the ages...
    Dave Pereksta Ventura
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  7. Searcher Pelagic Trip Results LINK
    DATE: Sep 10, 2022 @ 10:06am, 1 year(s) ago
    The 4 day Searcher Pelagic left San Diego Monday a little before noon on it's annual swing through the Southern California Bight and beyond. The trips spent Monday at the 9 and 30. mile banks off San Diego. We started Tuesday at Santa Barbara Island and the Sutil Rock booby colony and then moved NW across the Santa Cruz Basin hitting a variety of featured before anchoring behind San Miguel Island at dark. Day 3 we left San Miguel Island at 4AM and were just east of Rodriguez Dome at dawn. We crossed the Dome and proceeded south to the San Juan Seamount, then southeast to a deep 2100 fathom canyon located there. the fourth day found us near the Tanner Bank moving Southeast to the San Clemente basin. We started a bit east of our usual location as we needed to be back to shore about 7 hours early to avoid the hihi winds offshore predicted due to Kay. We were still able to bird until dark, so no impact on the trip, and in fact one of the best birds of the trip was found late in the day in an area we typically don't bird. We were back at the dock by midnight, where we all slept on the boat and had a hardy breakfast before departing at our usual morning time.
    I've been fortunate to participate in 18 of the 19 fall Searcher trips, and this was one of if not the best for diversity of species, weather, and the great looks we got at the vast majority of birds and mammals. A big thanks to my co-leaders Dave Pereksta, Dave Povey and Jon Feenstra. Also a big thanks to Art Taylor, Celia Condit, and the the crew of Searcher who took great care of us as they always do.
    We keep bird checklists and haven't added everything up yet, so the numbers are approximate where given
    Black-footed Albatross (Seen everyday)
    Pink-footed Shearwater
    Sooty Shearwater
    Manx Shearwater 2 (one in SD and one in SB counties)
    Black-vented Shearwater
    Buller's Shearwater (about 500 most on the San Juan Seamount)
    Ashy Storm-Petrel
    Black Storm-petrel
    Leach's Storm-Petrel (most the dark or dusky-rumped Mexico breeders)
    Least Storm-Petrels (40 or so, seen in SD, LA, SB, and VEN) more widespread and numerous than typical
    Townsend's Storm-Petrel (seen more inshore than in some years and seen every day)
    Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrel (1 at a slick near in the late afternoon on Thursday in LA county about 7 miles west of the "corner"
    Cook's Petrels (40 or so, mostly south of Rodriguez Dome)
    Hawaiian Petrel 1 (South of Rodriguez Dome)
    Craveri's Murrelet (about 60 mostly near Santa Cruz Basin)
    Scripp's Murrelet 4
    Guadalupe Murrelet 7 (some incredible looks)
    Cassin's Auklet 2
    Common Murre 1
    Brown Booby
    Red-footed Booby 2
    Blue-footed Booby 2.5 (2 adults and the continuing Brown X Blue-footed hybrid) all on Sutil
    2 Nazca Boobies
    Red Phalarope
    Red-necked Phalarope
    Red-billed Tropicbird 5 (with two different birds on the water allowing close approach)
    Sabine's Gulls
    Arctic Terns
    Parasitic, Pomarine, and Long-tailed Jaegers
    Marine Mammals included
    Humpback, Blue, and Fin Whales
    Baird's Beaked-Whales
    10-12 ETP Orcas
    Short-beaked Common Dolphin
    Bottle-Nosed Dolphin
    California Sea-Lions
    Elephant Seals
    Gudalupe Fur-Seals
    Quite a haul for 4 days.......
    The trip is already sold out for 2023, but you can go to for info about the trips. a more detailed trip report with some photos will be prepared and all these sightings will be placed in ebird with photos over the next month.
    Todd McGrath
    The Woodlands, TX
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  9. Hurricane/Tropical Storm KAY birding potential (?) LINK
    DATE: Sep 7, 2022 @ 2:55pm, 1 year(s) ago
    As undoubtedly almost all of you know, a hurricane
    has formed off western Mexico named KAY that is forecast to come north
    just barely off the west coast of Baja. Once it gets to central Baja it
    should start to weaken due to cooler ocean temps and encountering drier
    air, so it should be "only" a weakening tropical storm once it gets
    beyond there--as well as start to curve offshore to the west. It may
    still be a weak tropical storm when it gets to its forecast northernmost
    latitude, well off about Ensenada around late Friday or early Saturday.
    The principal effects in San Diego County are forecast to be strong
    EAST winds on Friday PM into Saturday AM, chance for substantial rain in
    the mountains (especially east slope), and more spotty rain nearer to
    the coast from late Friday through Saturday.
    My gut--and my gut can be incorrect--is that the
    center of the weakening storm will not get close enough to us, and the
    dominant wind direction unfortunately will be EASTERLY, to bring us a
    plethora of vagrant pelagic species. The one species that could well
    turn up is MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD, and they could be seen not only
    along the coast, but perhaps also over any larger inland body of water,
    including in the mountains, and even over at Borrego Springs and other western desert sites. Best time
    to look will probably be Friday PM and much of Saturday. Frigatebirds
    are the species often displaced the farthest out from the center of a tropical
    storm--of any of the hoped-for seabirds. Two frigatebirds turned up in
    L.A. County this past weekend right after the extremely weak remnants of
    "Javier" moved by early on Saturday. In eastern North America, after
    frigatebird, the species displaced the farthest out from a tropical
    storm is often Sooty [and Bridled] Tern. Thus, a frigatebird is perhaps a possibility in a large part of southern California.
    But in addition to a possible frigatebird or
    pie-in-the-sky something even better, the strong east winds and some
    amount of rain could drop numbers of inland over-flying shorebirds and
    other over-flying waterbirds (including inland rarities such as jaegers
    and Sabine's Gulls and terns) on any larger inland body of water. AND
    perhaps the strong east flow MIGHT result in a grounding of landbird
    migrants along the coast.
    So, lots of choices to be made! And perhaps only a
    couple folks will make the right choice! Try the coast late Fri and all
    of Sat for frigatebirds Try inland for frigatebirds and grounded
    waterbirds and shorebirds of note right after the worst of the weather
    Try good landbird sites along the immediate coast Saturday [or even
    Sunday] morning
    Many a good waterbird does NOT linger long, at all,
    after a storm passes, so if you are lucky enough to find something good,
    please post the word IMMEDIATELY to the local listserve and possible WhatsApp group.
    Do NOT wait several hours to eBird it.
    --Paul Lehman, San Diego
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  11. Pelagic trip report July 9, 2022 - Ventura to the Channel Islands and beyond LINK
    DATE: Jul 9, 2022 @ 9:54pm, 1 year(s) ago
    Hi all
    We had a productive pelagic trip today with Island Packers from the Ventura Harbor. Our 12-hour trip had us going out to the east end of Anacapa Island and then traveling south across and around the Santa Cruz Basin before stopping at Santa Barbara Island and the Pilgrim Bank. I do not have precise numbers yet, but here is a summary of the highlights.
    * Over 50 Brown Boobies, 2 Blue-footed Boobies, and the now 2-year old Blue-footed x Brown Booby hybrid on Sutil Rock near Santa Barbara Island * 5-10 Cook's Petrels on the west side of the Santa Cruz Basin with one bird allowing close approach on the water * A pair of Craveri's Murrelets south of Santa Cruz Island * Several pair of Scripps's Murrelets (one with a older chick). Getting late in the season for them * A Black-footed Albatross in the Santa Cruz Basin where we rarely ever see them
    * Three South Polar Skuas * An early Sabine's Gull * Fair numbers of Black, Ashy, and Leach's Storm-Petrels * 1000's of Sooty Shearwaters, 100ish Pink-footed Shearwaters, a few early returning Black-vented Shearwaters, and a few summering Northern Fulmars
    * Small numbers of Rhinoceros and Cassin's Auklets, Pigeon Guillemots, and a few Common Murres near Anacapa (trying to breed there)
    * A White-bellied Oystercatcher on Anacapa Island that will need to be evaluated further. Likely a hybrid
    A great trip with birds in sight most of the day over our 200-mile route. Special thanks to Island Packers, especially Captain Joel Barrett who helps make these trips happen and brings an impressive amount of birding expertise to the captain's chair. Thanks also to leaders Todd McGrath, Peter Gaede, Dan Maxwell, and Wes Fritz for tirelessly sharing their expertise and finding birds over a long day at sea.
    Dave Pereksta
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  13. April-June 2022 San Diego pelagic trips LINK
    DATE: Apr 8, 2022 @ 5:54am, 1 year(s) ago
    Three Buena Vista Audubon sponsored pelagic trips out of San Diego are being offered in April, May, and June 2022. All are aboard the 80-foot "Legacy" out of Seaforth Landing in Mission Bay. Passenger loads are limited to 55, with several leaders.
    April 24, 2022 . This is a 6- hour Sunday trip to the local canyons and banks off San Diego. A shorter trip than others but which still allows for coverage of inshore waters frequented by many seabirds and other marine life. Expected species include Scripps's Murrelet, Cassin's and Rhinoceros Auklet, Northern Fulmar, Pink-footed, Sooty, and Black-vented Shearwaters, Black Storm-Petrel, Pomarine and Parasitic Jaegers, Red Phalarope, and Brown Booby.
    May 14, 2022. This is a 10-12-hour Saturday trip that will likely extend west to the farthest reaches of San Diego County waters, and we may enter briefly into Los Angeles Co. as well. The "on the water time" here allows for a more thorough coverage of the various banks and deeps, for both the expected and less numerous species also found slightly farther offshore. Expected species include all those from the April trip, plus Ashy Storm-Petrel and Sabine's Gull, and gives us a better chance at possible species such as Black-footed Albatross, Red-billed Tropicbird, and South Polar Skua, with a slight chance for Laysan Albatross.
    June 12, 2022. This is a 10-12-hour Sunday trip, with a similar general route as the May trip. Expected species are much the same as for the May trip, with a somewhat lower likelihood of Scipps's Murrelet but the possibilityof picking up the first of several summer species such as Craveri's Murrelet and Leach's Storm-Petrel, and with a slight chance for Cook's Petrel.
    For further details and to see the July-October 2022 schedule, go to
    You may book directly online at (be sure you are on the Legacy Whale Watch site). Hit the red "BOOK NOW" button, which leads to the boat's schedule (both whale-watching and birding). Then scroll down to the date you wish to book. Hit "CLICK HERE" then "BOOKING."
    You can also call Seaforth Sportfishing Landing during regular business hours: (619) 224-3383.
    Thanks, and we hope we will see you onboard!
    --Dave Povey, Bruce Rideout, Paul Lehman, San Diego
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  15. Oct 2 pelagic results LINK
    DATE: Oct 3, 2021 @ 1:28pm, 2 year(s) ago
    Hi all
    We had an 11-hour pelagic trip out of Ventura with Island Packers yesterday (Oct 2). It was a beautiful day with low winds and nice seas, and we encountered a lot of birds and other sea life. We went from Ventura to Anacapa Island and then to Santa Barbara Island. The highlights were:
    A huge feeding frenzy near Anacapa Island has thousands of birds including big numbers of Black-vented Shearwaters. We had our only Common Murre of the day in the channel before the frenzy.
    A large flock of oystercatchers (30+) on Anacapa with three white-bellied birds. We could not get too close due to divers in the water and need to review photos to see if we can determine if any were Americans. The ones we could see well from the boat looked like hybrids and we did not get to see many fieldmarks like spread wings or rumps.
    The waters from Anacapa to the Pilgrim Bank in Ventura County had lots of birds and common dolphins. We had a "skua slam" over the course of a few minutes, finding Parasitic, Pomarine, and Long-tailed Jaegers; and South Polar Skua. We also had decent numbers of Pink-footed Shearwaters, a few Sooty Shearwaters, Sabine's Gulls, Rhinoceros Auklets, two Brown Boobies, and an Ashy Storm-Petrel that sat on the water near the boat. However, the highlights of this stretch were 21 Craveri's Murrelets and several large rafts of Black Storm-Petrels that numbered around 1,200 birds or more.
    The stretch from Pilgrim to Santa Barbara Island was less eventful, but Sutil Rock provided and incredible Booby show. We had 146 Brown Boobies, two Blue-footed Boobies, and two Red-footed Boobies!! This is the first time we have seen Red-footed Boobies perched on Sutil. Two birds perched together in vegetation makes you wonder what they are thinking. There was another booby that was either a juvenile Blue-footed or the hybrid Blue-footed x Brown from last year. Photo review of that is pending.
    We left SBI and checked the Osborn Bank before heading back north on a line over deeper water than our southbound track. We continued to see Craveri's Murrelets and a variety of other species including Red and Red-necked Phalaropes, Sabine's Gulls, shearwaters, and jaegers. The highlight of this stretch was a cow/calf pair of Bryde's Whales that mugged the boat several times and swam along the side with their bellies turned upward. A "life" mammal for most on board. As we continued north back into Ventura County we continued to see a variety of birds and lots of common dolphins. The bird highlights there were our most photogenic Sabine's Gulls and Craveri's Murrelets of the day. We had 40+ Craveri's for the day!
    Thanks go out to Island Packers for another great trip and all they do to support pelagic birding in southern California. Captain Joel Barrett, Laurie Van Stee, and Paige Knowles were awesome as always. In addition, the trip was expertly led by Todd McGrath, Ryan Terrill, Deven Kammerichs-Berke, Wes Fritz, and myself. Everyone's efforts led to a great day on the water.
    We are also proud to announce that big year birder Tiffany Kersten picked up numbers 699 (Craveri's Murrelet) and 700 (Blue-footed Booby) for her lower 48 big year. Congratulations to her for an amazing milestone!
    We have an 8-hour trip out of Ventura on Oct 23. Visit Island Packers website for more details.
    Dave Pereksta Ventura
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  17. Monterey Seabirds Pelagic Trip Report LINK
    DATE: Sep 16, 2021 @ 12:24pm, 2 year(s) ago
    Hi all.
    We did not find any mega rarities on our eight-hour pelagictrip aboard the Pt. Sur Clipper last Sunday (9/12) but we again had a steady stream of birds throughout the day, great looks at most species, and favorable weather conditions and sea state.
    Buller's Shearwaters have been a bit erratic this year, the five-day Searcher trip didn't find any last week and neither did we on our previous two trips, but this time we hit the mother lode, over 150 birds. We also had at least one, but likelythree, Short-tailed Shearwaters, a species that appearsto be making its way down from the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska earlythis year. We had Sooty and Pink-footedShearwaters in good numbers and several cooperative Black-footed Albatrosses. Our only three storm-petrels were Ashys and we had a few NorthernFulmars.
    The jaeger show was spectacular, especially Pomarine and Long-tailed Jaegers of which we had over a dozen aroundthe boat several times. The victims were mostly Sabine's Gulls this time as numbers of both Artic and Common Terns were lower than during previous trips. Numbers of California Gulls continue to increase. We found a few Cassin's Auklets, including a very cooperative one, as well as high numbers of the expected Rhinoceros Auklets and Common Murres. All phalaropes were Red-necked. And one pelagicTownsend'sWarbler was running the gauntlet of Western Gulls.
    Thank you to co-leader Bill Hubick. In my last report, I forgot to thank co-leaders Eli Gross, Don Roberson, Mark Kudrav, and Joshua Stacy.
    We have a couple of spots open on our eight-hour trip this coming Sunday and we have three more trips coming up in October, . The Short-tailed Albatross was in the Bay on Wednesday, will it stick around
    Take care,
    Bernardo Alps
    Wildlife Biologist California Whales & Wildlife
    P.O. Box 1667
    San Pedro, CA 90733
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  19. Sunday Monterey Seabirds Pelagic Report LINK
    DATE: Sep 10, 2021 @ 2:49am, 2 year(s) ago
    Hi all.
    Thebest bird of our Monterey Seabirds 8-hour pelagic birding trip on the Monterey Bay last Sunday was again a Manx Shearwater; unfortunately not as cooperative as the one on our previous trip and not seen by everyone. We had a good jaeger show with all three species well represented and seen well. The victims of the jaegers, Arctic and Common Terns as well as Sabine's Gulls were also present in good numbers. A handfulof Red Phalaropes were seen in addition to numerous Red-necked Phalaropes. And again several Black-footed Albatrosses put on a good show. Sooty and Pink-footed Shearwaters were present in large numbers. A single Pigeon Guillemont, a handful of Cassin's Auklets, and a couple of dozen Rhinoceros Auklets rounded out the alcid show with the abundant Common Murres.
    Mammals were represented by a small pod of Baird's Beaked Whales and many HumpbackWhales, a couple of which called attention to their presence close to the Pt. Sur Clipper with a spectaculardouble breach.
    A quick not on sea surface temperature. Unlike on our previous trip, on Sunday we couldn't identify any areas of warm water within reach. And while we covered very similar tracks on both trips, the difference in temperatureshowedin some of the species observed. For one, after the storm-petrel bonanza two weeks ago, we had none on Sunday. Two weeks ago, we had eight fur seals, three of which for sure and probably all were Guadalupe Fur Seals. Last Sunday, we saw approximately 25 fur seals, six of which for sure and probably all were Northern Fur Seals.
    Next Sunday's trip is sold out, but we have space on our upcoming trips on September 19, and October 3, 10, and 17, .
    Take care,
    Bernardo Alps
    Wildlife Biologist California Whales & Wildlife
    P.O. Box 1667
    San Pedro, CA 90733
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  21. Monterey Seabirds Trip Report LINK
    DATE: Sep 3, 2021 @ 6:22pm, 2 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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  23. Ventura Pelagic Trip with Island Packers - October 3, 2020 LINK
    DATE: Sep 27, 2020 @ 2:40pm, 3 year(s) ago
    Hi All
    is a reminder that Island Packers is offering an 11-hour deepwater
    pelagic trip from the Ventura Harbor at 7 am on Saturday October 3 and we still have some tickets available. This
    trip will allow us to get to offshore waters beyond the reach of most
    day trips where we will
    have a chance to see a number of outstanding pelagic birds and marine
    mammals. The waters around the northern
    Channel Islands can be very productive during the fall when hundreds
    (sometimes thousands) of shearwaters crowd into the inter-island gaps.
    We will be looking through flocks of Black-vented,
    Pink-footed, and Sooty Shearwaters for Buller's, Flesh-footed
    and Manx (rare) Shearwaters. This is peak season for seabird diversity
    so in addition to the species already mentioned, Black-footed Albatross,
    Black and Ashy Storm-Petrels, Cassin's and Rhinoceros Auklets, and
    Pomarine and Long-tailed Jaegers are all possible. It is also a good time of
    year for South Polar Skua (we had seven last year), Sabine's Gull, and Arctic Tern. Recent trips to Santa Barbara Island have seen a Blue-footed Booby among the large numbers of Brown
    Boobies there and we intend to visit the island on this trip. The Blue-footed bred with a Brown Booby and I saw a hybrid fledgling there earlier in September. There is also a potential for sought-after species
    like Cooks' Petrel, Least Storm-Petrel,
    Townsend's Storm-Petrel, and
    Craveri's Murrelet. The last few years have been exceptional for Craveri's
    Murrelet off southern California so our
    chances to find this elusive species may be good. We saw approximately
    32 Craveri's Murrelets on this trip last year! In
    addition, a multi-day trip I led out of San Diego a few weeks ago had Nazca Boobies on four consecutive days. Remember that this trip in 2018 had all five North American boobies in a single day! We
    will decide what our offshore destinations will be after reviewing
    oceanographic conditions at the time of the trip, which will help
    determine where birds and other marine life may be present.
    While I would normally go on more about the birds we might see, I am
    going to focus on safety related to the COVID-19 pandemic and how we plan to
    run the trip to minimize risk to everyone on board. First, we are running at a
    reduced capacity to ensure that passengers can sit/stand 6 feet apart. Masks/face coverings are REQUIRED
    at all times while on the boat. If you do not believe in wearing masks for some
    political, religious, or other reason, then this is not the trip for you. The
    exception is to eat or drink. We ask that when you are eating or drinking to
    distance one's self 6 feet away from other people not in your party. When
    eating and drinking remove your mask only sparingly, replacing it between
    drinks, or bites of food (use your best judgement). We also suggest bringing a
    few spare masks as you may want to put on a fresh one after several hours. Make
    sure you can comfortably wear the mask for extended periods of time. In
    addition, all the tables and handrails will be disinfected before boarding and the
    restrooms will be disinfected on regularly scheduled intervals. The handrails
    along the perimeter of the boat are marked at 6-foot intervals to help maintain
    social distancing while aboard.
    The trip will be on an ultra-fast catamaran that features a spacious
    and comfortable cabin, galley, and excellent viewing from both the upper and
    lower decks. A full contingent of outstanding seabird leaders will be present
    to make sure we see all that is out there. The Captain and crew know how to run
    birding trips and are enthusiastic and helpful. In addition, we work hard to
    creep up on birds and get them in the right light...photographers will not be
    Trips can be booked over the phone by calling (805) 642-1393 or online
    at by clicking the Reserve Trip tab, select the Special
    Trips tab, and select your desired departure. The cost of the trip is $170 per
    Hope to see you at sea!
    Dave Pereksta Ventura
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  25. San Diego pelagic 9/19: Red-footed Booby, Buller's, Least Storm-Petrels, L-t Jaeger LINK
    DATE: Sep 20, 2020 @ 5:38am, 3 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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  27. 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, 3 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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  29. Ventura pelagic trip - 5 Oct 2019 LINK
    DATE: Oct 5, 2019 @ 10:58pm, 4 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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-revision history-
v1.35 - 11/22/22 - Finally rewrote code to handle new Groups.IO web structure
v1.30 - 01/05/16 - Revamped cloud logic, optimized database queries, linked to eBird rarities.
v1.23 - 12/08/11 - Added direct link to CBRC records.
v1.22 - 12/03/11 - Corrected GMT offsets on dates. Added last 5 posts at top.
v1.21 - 11/24/11 - Added direct link to range map for NA birds.
v1.2  - 11/23/11 - Greatly improved graphing technology - separates month vs. year by posts. Added species auto-complete functionality.
v1.14 - 11/22/11 - Added cloud bubble for common thread topics.
v1.13 - 11/22/11 - Added integrated photos where available.
v1.12 - 11/22/11 - Added multiple input boxes for additional refinement, negative search criteria (eg. -keyword).
v1.11 - 11/22/11 - Added banding code, species look-up. Also direct link to recent eBird observations.
 v1.1 - 11/22/11 - Added 'date' functionality. Shows top 'month/year' combinations for a query. Restrict results to that 'month/year'.
 v1.0 - 11/21/11 - Initial version coded. Currently archiving 'lacobirds' and 'calbirds'.