Pelagic trip report:
Saturday, July 1, 2006

5-hour introductory pelagic trip
From Newport, Oregon 12 nautical miles offshore.

Boat: Misty
Captain Robert Waddell

The Bird Guide, Inc.

Guides: Greg Gillson, Stacy Strickland

One of the first birds of the trip was a LONG-TAILED DUCK resting on the finger of rocks just past the bridge on the south jetty. Not much further was our first HEERMANN'S GULL. An apparent third-year BALD EAGLE flew off the north jetty.

Entering the ocean we traveled north along the beach toward Yaquina Head. A flock of SURF and WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS flew along the beach. We spotted many PIGEON GUILLEMOTS and COMMON MURRES carrying fish back toward the seabird colony on Yaquina Head. A couple of BROWN PELICANS flew by us here.

When we reached Yaquina Head we found a close group of about 15 RHINOCEROS AUKLETS sheltering from the wind. A male HARLEQUIN DUCK was swimming around the rocks. We saw and heard a BLACK OYSTERCATCHER on the rocks. About 6,000 COMMON MURRES were on the nesting rocks, and about a hundred BRANDT'S CORMORANTS were roosting on one rock. A couple of fly-by TUFTED PUFFINS provided unsatisfactory views for some participants, but were missed by most. There were about 30 HARBOR SEALS resting on the rocks.

We headed offshore next, into a fairly stiff breeze and NW swell. Both subsided as we made our way offshore, but the air was still quite cold and damp. We started spotting a few SOOTY SHEARWATERS, but in very low numbers. Several CASSIN'S AUKLETS flew from in front of the boat, but we finally got fairly good looks at a couple of them on the water. We made it about 12 miles offshore in the allotted time. It really wasn't far enough to reach the abundant birds of the shelf break about 20-30 miles offshore, but we got a couple of views of PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS, a single NORTHERN FULMAR, and two sightings of quite distant BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES winging by. These were tantalizing glimpses of what we could expect on a longer trip farther offshore.

Returning to shore we snuck up on a score of MARBLED MURRELETS. We often heard birds calling before we saw them among the wind waves. We ended up with several very nice views.

Back in the bay we spotted a scruffy female BLACK SCOTER near the Coast Guard station. Our final bird of the trip was an OSPREY diving for fish in the bay.

Here's the tally:

Harlequin Duck 1
Long-tailed Duck 1
Surf Scoter 30
White-winged Scoter 6
Black Scoter 1
Common Loon 2
Black-footed Albatross 2
Northern Fulmar 1
Pink-footed Shearwater 2
Sooty Shearwater 25
Brandt's Cormorant 400
Pelagic Cormorant 60
Brown Pelican 2
Osprey 1
Bald Eagle 1
Mew Gull 3
California Gull 20
Glaucous-winged Gull 1
Western Gull 100
Heermann's Gull 3
Common Murre 6000
Pigeon Guillemot 80
Marbled Murrelet 25
Rhinoceros Auklet 55
Tufted Puffin 2
Harbor Seal 30