In contrast to the heat inland, it was cool and foggy over the ocean, but passengers cherished the mirror-like seas and close birds. It was a bit thicker near shore, but we were still able to sneak up on MARBLED MURRELETS and RHINOCEROS AUKLETS before we headed out to deeper water. Many HARBOR PORPOISES were about, the first were actually in the harbor. Once offshore the fog lifted until we had at least a half-mile visibility. That was more than enough to see most of the expected species, though not in large numbers.
The trip highlight was a SOUTH POLAR SKUA as we neared Perpetua Bank. It was chasing a PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER, but then the shearwater maneuvered until it was chasing the skua! I guess you can't get beat up by the brute skua if you stay on its tail. The skua then landed in the water and we were able to motor over to it and watch it at close range for about 5 minutes before it flew off a short distance and landed in the water again. In the mean time, several BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES had winged up to the boat and were begging scraps, so we began chumming out bags of popcorn and beef fat trimmings. Numerous BLUE SHARKS targeted the fat, but most were less than about 3 feet long. The birds successfully defended the fat, so the sharks gave up and ate the popcorn. A striking juvenile SABINE'S GULL joined us at the chum stop, and a single immature ARCTIC TERN flew close giving us good looks. Several LONG-TAILED JAEGERS visited our chum spot. Other distant jaegers were probably also Long-tailed, though one larger one may have been a Pomarine.
A B C Black-footed Albatross - - 30 Northern Fulmar - - 28 Pink-footed Shearwater - - 31 Sooty Shearwater - 5 55 Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel - - 27 Pelagic Cormorant 5 5 - Brandt's Cormorant 6 80 - Double-crested Cormorant 35 - - Great Blue Heron 1 - - Surf Scoter - 3 - Osprey 1 - - Wandering Tattler 2 - - Black Turnstone 4 - - Surfbird 15 - - Red-necked Phalarope 0 6 - Red Phalarope - - 65 South Polar Skua - - 1 Long-tailed Jaeger - - 9 jaeger (sp.) - - 3 Heermann's Gull 15 2 - California Gull 6 2 1 Glaucous-winged Gull 2 - - Western Gull 30 4 5 Sabine's Gull - - 3 Arctic Tern - - 1 Common Murre 25 200 - Pigeon Guillemot 15 20 - Marbled Murrelet - 6 - Cassin's Auklet - - 10 Rhinoceros Auklet - 5 25 Rock Dove 25 - - Belted Kingfisher 2 - - American Crow 10 - - Harbor Porpoise 2 8 3 Dall's Porpoise - - 1 Pacific White-sided Dolphin - - 1 California Sea Lion 14 - - Harbor Seal 15 - - Ocean Sunfish - - 1 Blue Shark - - 35