Pelagic trip report:
Saturday, September 12, 2009
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.
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 LAYSAN ALBATROSS 1 Northern Fulmar 135 Pink-footed Shearwater 650 Sooty Shearwater 500 Buller's Shearwater 1 MANX 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 XANTUS'S (SCRIPPS'S) MURRELET 2 Cassin's Auklet 600 Rhinoceros Auklet 850 South Polar Skua 5 Pomarine Jaeger 15 Parasitic Jaeger 5 Long-tailed Jaeger 6 jaeger (sp.) 8 HUMPBACK WHALE 2 Gray Whale 4 Harbor Porpoise 30 Harbor Seal 2 California Sea Lion 25 Steller's Sea Lion 8 ELEPHANT SEAL 1 NORTHERN FUR SEAL 5 Blue Shark 3 Ocean Sunfish 12 Moon Jelly Sea Nettle