Pelagic Trip Report:
Wednesday, September 5, 2001
Newport, Oregon, out 20 miles
Report by Steve Shunk:
The day started with a PEREGRINE FALCON and ended with a RED-SHOULDERED HAWK. Yes, this is the summary for The Bird Guide's five-hour pelagic tour out of Lincoln County's Newport harbor on Wednesday, 5 September 2001.
In addition to the unexpected raptors, trip highlights included a SOUTH POLAR SKUA and a strong JAEGER migration, as well as prime comparisons of three SHEARWATER species and an nice collection of MARBLED MURRELETS.
Relatively calm seas and excellent bird diversity capped this weekday tour that took us to the underwater Daisy Bank, approximately 20 miles outside Yaquina Bay. Fall migration and post-breeding dispersal of local seabirds kept us busy right from the start. Just as the captain of the Surfrider finished his safety speech, a PEREGRINE FALCON lit in a large conifer above the harbor, stealing the glory from an OSPREY that flew low overhead just seconds earlier.
Soon after entering ocean waters, we began finding MARBLED MURRELETS. All participants enjoyed excellent looks at this endangered seabird, and we recorded over 30 individuals. COMMON MURRES were truly common from the mouth of the bay to Yaquina Head. Begging calls of juvenile MURRES could be heard from the boat, and at least one adult was observed feeding its young.
LOON migration appeared to be just underway. Small numbers of RED-THROATED LOONS and at least one each PACIFIC LOON and COMMON LOON gave us excellent comparisons to all three CORMORANT species. A few small flocks of SURF SCOTERS were typical of this early fall season, and we observed a large flock of migrating NORTHERN PINTAILS well offshore.
Rafts of mixed SHEARWATERS allowed close approach and excellent study during the tour. SOOTY SHEARWATERS dominated the near-shore groups, trading off with PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS as we turned seaward. BULLER'S SHEARWATERS were almost common further from shore, both on the water and flying among the "SOOTIES" and "PINK-FOOTS."
A handful of BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES thrilled participants as we circled over Daisy Bank, but the real show offshore was the concentration of JAEGERS and a SOUTH POLAR SKUA that all made close approach to our boat. One LONG-TAILED JAEGER with full tail plumes flew within 20 yards of the stern!
And the icing on the cake? Back at the harbor, we were just about to disembark when a juvenile RED-SHOULDERED HAWK flew out from the trees above the dock, a rarity for Lincoln County and fitting end to an excellent journey.
Pacific Loon 2 Red-throated Loon 4 Common Loon 1 Pelagic Cormorant 234 Double-crested Cormorant 30 Brandt's Cormorant 30 Black-footed Albatross 4 Pink-footed Shearwater 120 Sooty Shearwater 1313 Buller's Shearwater 44 Surf Scoter 45 Northern Pintail 40 Osprey 1 Red-shouldered Hawk 1 Peregrine Falcon 1 Semipalmated Plover 1 Wandering Tattler 2 Ruddy Turnstone 1 Black Turnstone 5 Surfbird 10 Red-necked Phalarope 48 Red Phalarope 1 Phalarope sp. 10 shorebird sp. 20 South Polar Skua 1 Pomarine Jaeger 5 Parasitic Jaeger 6 Long-tailed Jaeger 7 Parasitic/Long-tailed Jaeger 2 Heermann's Gull 18 California Gull 90 Herring Gull 1 Western Gull 75 Sabine's Gull 19 Arctic Tern 1 Common Murre 336 Pigeon Guillemot 18 Cassin's Auklet 3 Marbled Murrelet 34 Rhinocerous Auklet 12 Rock Dove x Albacore Tuna 6 Ocean Sunfish 4 Blue Shark 3 Harbor Seal 20 California Sea Lion 40 Harbor Porpoise 3