Pelagic trip report:
Saturday, September 22, 2007

11 hours
From Newport, Oregon, 40 miles SW to Perpetua Bank, 32 nautical miles off Yachats, Oregon, and from there SW 6 miles into Lane County waters off Heceta Bank.

Seas fairly rough, winds to 20 knots. High 58 F.

Boat: Misty
Captain Rob Waddell
Newport Tradewinds Charter

The Bird Guide, Inc.

Guides: Greg Gillson, Tim Shelmerdine, Tom Snetsinger, Troy Guy, Lisa Sheffield, Russ Namitz

A Northern Fulmar passes by a Sperm Whale. Photo by Greg Gillson.

A rather windy, rough day made for some tough birding conditions. We ended up seeing average to low numbers of most of the expected species, but not all the views were satisfying due to the bouncy seas. The most unusual species was a Pectoral Sandpiper that circled the boat twice 32 miles offshore.

The highlight of the day was an amazing three Sperm Whales! This is the first time we've had this mammal on our trips. In fact, it is the first time the Captain has seen this species. We estimated the length at 60 feet, thus indicating a larger male, as expected this far north. Interestingly, it surfaced just as we pulled to a stop on our Perpetua Bank chum stop. At this exact location, over the years, we've seen two Shy Albatrosses, two Short-tailed Albatrosses, and now Sperm Whale!

The whale logged on the surface for a while, barely moving. It's breaths were loud, deep, and extended. Finally, it began its dive, slowly upending until it was vertical, then it slowly submerged. Twenty minutes later it surfaced again, right near the boat. It repeated this three times. We saw another animal nearby, then a third a half hour later and about 6 miles to the SW--the flukes just standing there, suspended in the air, slowly sinking.

A Pacific White-sided Dolphin puts on a show. Photo by Troy Guy.

Species list

Red-throated Loon 2
Pacific Loon 1
Common Loon 3
Red-necked Grebe 2
Western Grebe 25
Black-footed Albatross 50
Northern Fulmar 225
Buller's Shearwater 6
Pink-footed Shearwater 150
Sooty Shearwater 100
Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel 8
Brown Pelican 25
Double-crested Cormorant 45
Brandt's Cormorant 100
Pelagic Cormorant 25
Great Blue Heron 2
Greater White-fronted Goose 85
Northern Pintail 50
Harlequin Duck 1
Surf Scoter 80
White-winged Scoter 6 (seen by few)
Black Turnstone 2
Wandering Tattler 1 (seen by few)
Pectoral Sandpiper 1
Red Phalarope 15
Red-necked Phalarope 25
Parasitic Jaeger 3
Pomarine Jaeger 5
jaeger (sp.) 5
South Polar Skua 1 (seen by few)
Mew Gull 5
California Gull 70
Glaucous-winged Gull 3
Western Gull 45
Heermann's Gull 15
Common Tern 1
Common Murre 45
Pigeon Guillemot 6
Cassin's Auklet 15
Rhinoceros Auklet 25

California Sea Lion 80
Steller's Sea Lion 1
Harbor Seal 25
Northern Fur Seal 2
Harbor Porpoise 8
Pacific White-sided Dolphin 15
Sperm Whale 3 (males)

Sperm Whale. Photo by Bruce Craig.

Pink-footed Shearwater. Photo by Bruce Craig.

Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel. Photo by Bruce Craig.

Parasitic Jaeger. Photo by Bruce Craig.

Sperm Whale. Logging. Deep breaths: "whoosh... humph." Photo by Greg Gillson.

Sperm Whale. Beginning the dive. Photo by Greg Gillson.

Sperm Whale. Vertical. Photo by Greg Gillson.

Pacific White-sided Dolphin. Photo by Greg Gillson.

Surf Scoter. Photo by Bruce Craig.