copyright 2013 Shearwater Journeys
Trip Reports |
7 September 2007
by Debi Shearwater
Photos © 2007 Steve N G Howell
Wedge-tailed Shearwater Clinic photos © 2007 Brian Sullivan & Steve N.G. Howell
Click on the murrelet to find out how to reserve a trip.
By any stretch of the imagination, today's Shearwater Journey's
pelagic trip from Bodega Bay was spectacular, exceeding all
expectations with excellent sea conditions, tens of thousands of
migrating seabirds, including 12 species of tubenoses, and a
magnificent whale show!
Highlights A light morph WEDGE-
TAILED SHEARWATER, a LAYSAN ALBATROSS, thousands of storm-petrels,
including; 4000 ASHY STORM-PETRELS, the first BLACK STORM-PETRELS of
the season (6), FORK-TAILED STORM-PETRELS (4), and amazingly, at
least 20 WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS. Other highlights included 2 or 3
FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATERS, nearly 2000 PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS, 700
SOOTY SHEARWATERS, and 40 BULLER'S SHEARWATERS.
The alcid show was no
less spectacular, with 3 adult TUFTED PUFFINS (1 in Sonoma County and
2 in Marin County). CASSIN'S AUKLETS were found in good numbers -
with many sitting on the water, offering great views of an alcid that
has been scarce the past two years. The jaeger show was fantastic,
with multiple SOUTH POLAR SKUAS overhead. In fact, POMARINE,
PARASITIC, and LONG-TAILED JAEGERS, and SOUTH POLAR SKUAS were in
view all at the same time! Over 3500 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES were
tallied, and the first of the season RED PHALAROPES were found.
CetaceansHUMPBACK WHALES were in view throughout the day, sometimes being
detected by the smelly blows, or constant breaching, or pectoral
flipper slapping. DALL'S PORPOISES joined our wake for a ride.
NORTHERN FUR SEALS were extremely abundant. The crowning jewel of the
cetacean display was a BLUE WHALE spotted by Jennifer Green off the
bow of our boat! It even raised its tail flukes as it sounded! It was
a show of marine life o that few birders ever experience!
We enjoyed uniformly high overcast skies throughout the day - perfect
conditions, with relatively low swells, and no whitecaps at all. By
9:30 am, I had already exclaimed that the day was a success, as we
had tallied so many birds, including a beautiful Tufted Puffin.
10:00 am, Steve Howell spotted the Wedge-tailed Shearwater off the
stern of the boat. Both Steve and Brian Sullivan managed to snap a
"record" image of the bird as is was flying away. It did not stay
long, and many of the birders on board missed this mega-rarity. Few
were disappointed, though. We soon encountered thousands of storm-
petrels, rafted up on the water, as they do. We could even smell
their musky odor. After sifting through these flocks, we easily
picked out many Wilson's, and a few blacks and fork-tails.
were in the process of studying the storm-petrel flocks, a single
Laysan Albatross made repeated passes. Finally, after everyone on
board had satisfactory views, we moved on to other birds. Soon, we
found the first of many Cassin's Auklets, the Blue Whales, and
several Blue Sharks. All three of these animals feed on krill. So, we
must be having a krill bloom near the Cordell Bank! There has been
precious little krill along the nearshore of central California for
the past two fall seasons. We can only hope that this krill bloom
We thank all of the participants and the leaders: Steve Howell, Brian
Sullivan, Lisa Hug, Jennifer Green, Luke Cole, John Luther, & Debra
Shearwater. The complete species list follows.
We still have spaces
open on the following trips from Bodega Bay: SEP 14 & 30; OCT 19. The
September 14th trip can be combined with a trip from Fort Bragg on
SEP 16th, with coastal land birding on September 15th along Highway
Trips from Monterey with spaces available are: SEP 22, 23, 24; OCT
5, 7, 12, 13, & 20.
Spaces are still available on our Albacore trips
from Monterey on SEP 29 & OCT 6. For reservations, please contact
Debra Shearwater (below).
SEPTEMBER 7, 2007 BODEGA BAY PELAGIC TRIP:
What a day!
FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER- 2 or 3
*WEDGE-TAILED SHEARWATER-1 light morph
SOUTH POLAR SKUA-6
BONAPARTE'S GULL-1 juv.
MEW GULL-1 in harbor
CALIFORNIA SEA LION-150
STELLER'S SEA LION-1
NORTHERN FUR SEAL-33
PO Box 190
Hollister, CA 95024