Pelagic trip report:
Saturday, September 4, 2004
4-1/2 hours

We enjoyed sunny, but breezy weather on our afternoon pelagic trip from Charleston, Oregon on 4 September 2004.

At least one person started right a way with a life bird, celebrating the BLACK TURNSTONE on one of the docks while the captain maneuvered the boat out the marina. HEERMANN'S GULLS and BROWN PELICANS were everywhere in the bay, and a HARBOR SEAL poke up his head.

Just offshore we picked up the first of many SOOTY SHEARWATERS, and a dark POMARINE JAEGER flew by, hot on the tail of a poor gull. Many COMMON MURRES were in this zone, many juvenile murres were paired with their fathers.

A period of less bird activity ensued as we made our way offshore to about 12 miles. A pair of DALL'S PORPOISES joined up with us for a few minutes. Then we spotted a couple of strange OCEAN SUNFISH. Then a BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS flew by. We stopped and chummed a while, but didn't attract many birds. We moved on to 15 miles offshore observing an increasing number of PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS. We chummed again, attracting a few fly-by ALBATROSSES, but none settled in for our popcorn and beef fat. A few fleeting glimpses of birds occurred on the return to shore, but no real good looks at RHINOCEROS AUKLETS and CASSIN'S AUKLETS that were already flying away by the time we spotted them lifting off in front of the boat. Another TUFTED PUFFIN was enjoyed by all, and another POMARINE JAEGER winged by, this one with quite visible "spoons" on the long central tail feathers.

A tight flock of SOOTY and PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS about 4 miles offshore contained 2 BULLER'S SHEARWATERS that flew off and weren't re-sighted. The captain graciously added about 45 minutes to our trip length. That was nice, but we had a few spouses on shore that were beginning to wonder...

All in all a nice, if bumpy, short pelagic trip. It gives you an idea of what might be seen on a longer 8-10 hour trip out 35 miles to the heart of albatross country. Sometimes you need a longer trip to actually get good looks at species you are seeing poorly throughout the day. We had such an example with that final flock of shearwaters with many good looks (finally) at the Pink-footed Shearwaters that had been gliding by at a distance all day. We have a 10-hour trip from Newport, Oregon going out on October 2 that could use a few more passengers. That trip costs $139 per person. Contact me for more details.

Here is the trip list as compiled after the trip by Tim Shelmerdine and me. No one saw all of these birds (Tim and myself included).

Northern Pintail 450
Surf Scoter 10
White-winged Scoter 2
Black Scoter 1
Red-throated Loon 2
Black-footed Albatross 6
Northern Fulmar 2
Sooty Shearwater 400
Pink-footed Shearwater 100
Double-crested Cormorant 100
Brandt's Cormorant 40
Pelagic Cormorant 10
Brown Pelican 60
Turkey Vulture 2
Peregrine Falcon 1
Black Turnstone 1
Red-necked Phalarope 2
Pomarine Jaeger 2
Heermann's Gull 120
California Gull 12
Western Gull 100
Glaucous-winged Gull 1
tern (Arctic or Common) 1
Common Murre 200
Cassin's Auklet 7
Rhinoceros Auklet 6
Tufted Puffin 2

Steller's Sea Lion 1
Harbor Seal 1
Dall's Porpoise 2
Ocean Sunfish 4