Pelagic trip report:
Saturday, August 13, 2005

From Newport, Oregon offshore to Perpetua Bank then an additional 10 miles to 40 miles offshore of Yachats, Oregon.

Boat: Misty
Captain Robert Waddell

The Bird Guide, Inc.

Guides: Greg Gillson, Tim Shelmerdine, Steve Shunk, Tom Snetsinger, David Mandell

While it was hot inland a couple of miles, the condition on the beach and out to sea was a cold, blowing fog from the north. This caused rather bumpy seas, but conditions were otherwise all right. The fog wasn't too bad, usually giving between 1/2 and 2 miles of visibility. Despite the fog we had a great trip with all of the expected species.

We went along shore for a ways until all had good looks at MARBLED MURRELETS. Then we headed out over Stonewall Bank, about 12 miles offshore, where NORTHERN FULMARS, SOOTY SHEARWATERS, and a couple of BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES came alongside as we traveled. We spotted RED-NECKED PHALAROPES here, and a couple of bunches of FORK-TAILED STORM-PETRELS. A BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD flew by in the fog, and we circled the boat around a RHINOCEROS AUKLET on the water.

Offshore about 20 nautical miles, at the 100 fathom shelf break, we stopped to chum at the Chicken Ranch. Here we ended up with about 80 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES and many NORTHERN FULMARS. The first of several LONG-TAILED JAEGERS flew over the chum slick to investigate. It was a beautiful adult, still in breeding plumage.

We then headed south to Perpetua Bank, spotting a few scattered RED PHALAROPES, but there were no concentration of birds here, so we motored out an additional 10 miles to the west, over deeper water, eventually reaching about 40 nautical miles offshore, over 400 fathoms of water. This was a good strategy as we added PARASITIC JAEGERS, ARCTIC TERNS, and a single COMMON TERN to our list. We added another BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD to our list. It could have been the same individual seen closer to shore, I guess. But this weekend they had 5 cowbirds on a pelagic trip off Monterey, so I'll say we saw two. And we got even more great looks at LONG-TAILED JAEGERS as they followed the boat. Because the waves were close together from the NW we had to head out slowly on this portion. The deck hand asked if he could put out a tuna jig. That jig, at the surface trailing the boat, attracted the jaegers and they stayed with us for several miles. Now we've got a new technique for attracting jaegers into photo range!

On the return trip we encountered FORK-TAILED STORM-PETRELS on Stonewall Bank again. This time, though, we ran into several large flocks. It was hard to tell how many we were pushing ahead and how many we were passing by in the fog, but our estimates ranged from 400-900 on this return portion of the trip, added to about 100 on the way out. We'll go with Tom's numbers that he tallied on the boat, and a number that was just about in the middle of the other guide's post-trip estimates.

SPECIES                  BAY   NEAR    AT SEA
Greater Scaup             1*
Surf Scoter               4       8
White-winged Scoter       1*
Common Loon               1
Black-footed Albatross                 110
Northern Fulmar                   1    152
Pink-footed Shearwater                  83
Sooty Shearwater                  4    102
Buller's Shearwater                      3
Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel               842
Brown Pelican             1
Brandt's Cormorant       30      25     12
Double-crested Cormorant 10       6      6
Pelagic Cormorant        24      18      5
Green-backed Heron        1
Turkey Vulture            1
Wandering Tattler                        1
Red-necked Phalarope      1      10    239
Red Phalarope                           35
Phalarope sp.                     4     50
Parasitic Jaeger                         6
Long-tailed Jaeger                      15
Pomarine Jaeger                          1
Heermann's Gull           4       1
California Gull          50      25     42
Glaucous-winged Gull      2
Western Gull             75      25     25
Sabine's Gull                            5
Common Tern                              1
Arctic Tern                              7
Common Murre             15      95     26
Pigeon Guillemot         25      26      4
Marbled Murrelet                  9
Rhinoceros Auklet                       21
Rock Pigeon              40
American Crow             2
Brown-headed Cowbird                     2
House Sparrow             2

Harbor Seal               1
Dall's Porpoise                          7
Harbor Porpoise           1        2     1
California Sea Lion       1
Elephant Seal                            2
Ocean Sunfish                           14
Albacore Tuna                            1*

* = seen by few