Pelagic trip report:
Saturday, September 12, 2009

11 hours
From Newport, Oregon, to 30 miles west of Depoe Bay where we met up with the American Dynasty hake fishing fleet.

Seas: large slow swell, smooth surface, winds 5-8 knots.

Boat: Misty
Captain Robert Waddell
Newport Tradewinds Charter

The Bird Guide, Inc.

Guides: Greg Gillson, Tim Shelmerdine, David Mandell, Russ Namitz

Our target for the day: American Dynasty. Photo by Greg Gillson.

Oh, why can't more of our trips have such marvelously smooth seas!

There are no words for such a insanely great trip!

About 20 miles due west of Cape Foulweather (typically a very apt name given to it by Captain Cook), guide David Mandell spotted a MANX SHEARWATER sitting in a flock of birds which we snuck up on. At least half the boat spied this rare bird before it flushed with the rest of the flock of SOOTY and PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS and RHINOCEROS AUKLETS.

Not 10 minutes later, in our very next flock of birds on the water, was an equally rare pair of the SCRIPPS'S race of XANTUS'S MURRELET! This time the birds remained for everyone to get great looks.

Not to be outdone by those birds, an hour and a half later while we were birding alongside the American Dynasty hake fishing ship, a LAYSAN ALBATROSS overflew our boat! While fairly regular (~50% of trips) from late October into early May, this is one of the very few we have seen from June-September.

Smiles and high-fives all around....

CASSIN'S and RHINOCEROS AUKLETS were everywhere. We encountered two flocks of FORK-TAILED STORM-PETRELS and had RED and RED-NECKED PHALAROPES give an identification clinic of side-by-side comparisons.

Several close GRAY WHALES, HUMPBACK WHALES, HARBOR PORPOISES, and NORTHERN FUR SEALS highlighted the marine mammals, while giddy passengers were waving back at the out-of-the-water fins of several OCEAN SUNFISH. These included some frying pan-sized ones that jumped out of the water, and a huge one about 7 feet across from dorsal to ventral fin.

One newer birder recorded an astounding TWENTY life birds! Truly, an insanely great trip!

Pink-footed Shearwater in the bathtub... I mean ocean. Photo by Greg Gillson.

More trip photos...

Northern Pintail 200
Surf Scoter 80
White-winged Scoter 80
Common Loon 10
Pacific Loon 5
Red-throated Loon 3
Black-footed Albatross 120
Northern Fulmar 135
Pink-footed Shearwater 650
Sooty Shearwater 500
Buller's Shearwater 1
Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel 550
Brown Pelican 200
Double-crested Cormorant 2
Brandt's Cormorant 200
Pelagic Cormorant 100
Red-necked Phalarope 350
Red Phalarope 75
Heermann's Gull 120
California Gull 5000
Western Gull 80
Sabine's Gull 10
Common Tern 2
Common Murre 130
Pigeon Guillemot 15
Marbled Murrelet 25
Cassin's Auklet 600
Rhinoceros Auklet 850
South Polar Skua 5
Pomarine Jaeger 15
Parasitic Jaeger 5
Long-tailed Jaeger 6
jaeger (sp.) 8

Gray Whale 4
Harbor Porpoise 30
Harbor Seal 2
California Sea Lion 25
Steller's Sea Lion 8

Blue Shark 3
Ocean Sunfish 12

Moon Jelly
Sea Nettle

Xantus's (Scripps's) Murrelet. Photo by Greg Gillson.

Laysan Albatross. Photo by Greg Gillson.