Pelagic Trip Report:
Monday, June 9, 2003
Newport, Lincoln Co., Oregon, to 20 miles offshore
Twenty-eight passengers participated in the official ABA Post-Convention pelagic trip from Newport, Oregon, on Monday, June 9th. All species seen were those expected in mid-summer off the Oregon coast, except for a few loons still migrating north. Trip leaders were Greg Gillson, Troy Guy, David Mandell, and Tom Snetsinger.
We started the trip by heading out Yaquina Bay where participants practiced separating Oregon's three species of CORMORANTS and getting the day's first looks at PIGEON GUILLEMOTS. We found several MARBLED MURRELETS immediately north of the north jetty, then made good speed to Yaquina Head, where we were surrounded by the COMMON MURRES coming and going from the breeding colony.
Heading off shore we soon saw the first SOOTY SHEARWATERS, and PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS followed soon thereafter. We circled around an obliging RHINOCEROS AUKLET, then headed offshore about 20 miles and ran into our first BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS. We chummed there and remained quite a while, picking up a few NORTHERN FULMARS and FORK-TAILED STORM-PETRELS. The swells offshore were huge and close together from the hot weather inland all week. With high winds forecast (they never materialized, though) we decided to head back in along shore rather than continue farther offshore to Perpetua Bank.
With an "extra" two hours gained from skipping the farther offshore regions, we came back to shore at Cape Foulweather. We immediately found our target species here when 2 TUFTED PUFFINS flew over the boat. The seas were much calmer near shore and we made our way slowly south to port. North of Yaquina Head we encountered 2 GRAY WHALES. They were in shallow water closer to shore, and we couldn't get too close. But we saw one whale blow several times and dive twice. During this portion of the trip we saw several RHINOCEROS AUKLETS fly past in groups of MURRES, and many MARBLED MURRELETS flew by also. We added new species all the way back to port with some HEERMANN'S GULLS, a RED-THROATED LOON, and 2 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS just outside the jetties, 13 BROWN PELICANS on the north jetty, and several CASPIAN TERNS flying over the bay.
The official trip list of waterbirds and other marine life detected from the boat:
Common Loon 2 Pacific Loon 12 Red-throated Loon 3 Black-footed Albatross 4 Northern Fulmar 4 Pink-footed Shearwater 54 Sooty Shearwater 114 Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel 6 Brandt's Cormorant 50 [another 100+ on Yaquina Head] Double-crested Cormorant 18 Pelagic Cormorant 60 Brown Pelican 15 Great Blue Heron 1 Surf Scoter 47 White-winged Scoter 2 Bufflehead 1 [2 observers] Glaucous-winged Gull 6 Western Gull 83 [another 50+ on Yaquina Head] Heermann's Gull 5 Caspian Tern 8 Common Murre 277 [another 2000+ on Yaquina Head] Pigeon Guillemot 123 Marbled Murrelet 24 Cassin's Auklet 1 [1 observer] Rhinoceros Auklet 17 Tufted Puffin 2 Steller's Sea Lion 1 [few observers] California Sea Lion 20 Gray Whale 2 Harbor Porpoise 7 By-the-wind Sailors jellyfish (a few)