Pelagic trip report:
Saturday, May 5, 2012

12 hours offshore 45 miles, 0700-1900
From Newport, Oregon, WNW to 45 miles off Depoe Bay, south 10 miles to 45 miles off Newport, return to Yaquina Head, along shore to Newport

Seas: mild; no wind offshore, light breeze near shore.

Boat: Misty
Captain Robert Waddell
Newport Tradewinds Charter

The Bird Guide, Inc.

Guides: Tom Snetsinger, David Mandell, Greg Gillson, Shawneen Finnegan, Russ Namitz

What a great day!

Seas were mild (5 foot swell well-spaced) and glassy until late afternoon when we returned to shore where a miled breeze had been blowing all day. We broke out into the sun about 11:00 AM offshore 35 miles and it remained sunny the rest of the day.

The goal of the trip was to get out to the "cruise ship lanes" and spend two hours looking for Murphy's Petrels, Parakeet Auklets, and Horned Puffins reported from a cruise ship two week earlier. So we went fast through nearshore waters.

There were hundreds of Sooty Shearwaters from a few miles offshore to 25 miles offshore.

We encountered 3 Humpback Whales offshore about 20 miles, playing around on the surface. The largest individual had a terrible wheeze that I've never heard from a whale.

Flocks of Red-necked Phalaropes near shore gave way to more Red Phalaropes about 25 miles offshore.

We scored a Horned Puffin 28 miles offshore from Newport that allowed us prolonged views!

We made it out 45 miles and motored slowly southward another 10 miles, but didn't encounter any birds of note. So we headed back towards shore at a rather liesurely pace. But birds were very sparse most of the way back, where they had been so abundant only a couple of hours earlier.

Back about 1 dozen miles from shore we picked up Sooty Shearwaters and Red-necked Phalarope flocks again. With some time gained by following swell, we headed over to Yaquina Head. A suspicious-looking loon deserved turning the boat around to make sure, and, yes! Yellow-billed Loon. Totally unexpected. Fantastic!

Trip photos: pelagic birds

Species list:

Bay (outbound)
Brant (Black) 7
Greater Scaup 8
Surf Scoter 10
Bufflehead 3
Common Loon 10
Horned Grebe 2
Brandt's Cormorant 10
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Pelagic Cormorant 25
Brown Pelican 16
Wandering Tattler 1
peep sp. 30
Western Gull 25
Glaucous-winged Gull 1
Pigeon Guillemot 20

0-5 miles offshore (outbound)
Surf Scoter 1
Red-throated Loon 3
Pacific Loon 40
Common Loon 2
Western Grebe 1
Sooty Shearwater 30
Red-necked Phalarope 30
Common Murre 80
Marbled Murrelet 4

5-30 miles offshore (outbound)
Black-footed Albatross 10
Pink-footed Shearwater 7
Sooty Shearwater 2500
Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel 25
Red-necked Phalarope 1000
Red Phalarope 300 
Sabine's Gull 30
Western Gull 3
California Gull 3
Common Murre 25
Cassin's Auklet 50
Rhinoceros Auklet 80
Horned Puffin 1, 28 miles WNW of Newport. 44 40.449 N, 124. 42.779 W, 10:20 AM. 
Tufted Puffin 1

Offshore 30-45 miles, south 10 miles, 45-30 miles returning
Black-footed Albatross 20
Sooty Shearwater 30
Short-tailed Shearwater 1
Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel 30
Red-necked Phalarope 15
Red Phalarope 30
Sabine's Gull 5
California Gull 10
Glaucous-winged Gull 1
Arctic Tern 2
Parasitic Jaeger 2
Cassin's Auklet 25
Rhinoceros Auklet 15
Tufted Puffin 6

30 miles back to 5 miles offshore (return)
Greater White-fronted Goose 105 Single large flock headed north
Common Loon 5
Black-footed Albatross 8
Northern Fulmar 1
Sooty Shearwater 600
Short-tailed Shearwater 1
Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel 10
Red-necked Phalarope 400
Red Phalarope 25
Sabine's Gull 7
Western Gull 5
Common Murre 75
Cassin's Auklet 35
Rhinoceros Auklet 20

5 miles offshore to Yaquina Head then back to Newport
Surf Scoter 25
Pacific Loon 10
Yellow-billed Loon 1, 3.5 miles west of Newport. 
Sooty Shearwater 10
Brandt's Cormorant 15
Pelagic Cormorant 5
Brown Pelican 3
peep sp. 5
Red-necked Phalarope 20
Bonaparte's Gull 20
Western Gull 35
California Gull 5
Common Murre 2000
Pigeon Guillemot 10
Marbled Murrelet 4

Bay (return)
Brant (Black) X
Greater Scaup X
Surf Scoter X
Harlequin Duck 1
Common Loon X
Red-necked Grebe 4
Western Grebe 1
Brandt's Cormorant X
Double-crested Cormorant X
Pelagic Cormorant X
Wandering Tattler 2
Mew Gull 1 immature
Western Gull X
Western x Glaucous-winged Gull (hybrid) X
Glaucous-winged Gull 2
Pigeon Guillemot X

Harbor Seal 3 (bay)
Steller's Sea Lion 1 
Gray Whale 2
Humpback Whale 11
Soupfin Shark 1