Pelagic Trip Report:
Saturday, September 29, 2001
Newport, Oregon, out 32 miles to Perpetua Bank
Written by: Stephen Shunk <3sisters@OUTLAWNET.COM>
The Bird Guide Pelagic tour to Perpetua Bank Saturday enjoyed outstanding weather and excellent bird sightings including another SOUTH POLAR SKUA for this fall, plus EIGHT species of marine mammals and dozens of BLUE SHARKS. A brief report follows along with a species total for all the critters we counted.
The return of the MEW GULLS and a single BROWN PELICAN highlighted our exit from Yaquina Bay, along with a group of 16 SURFBIRDS on the south jetty. Nearshore birds were thick along the coast. We tallied 30 MARBLED MURRELETS on the trip out and more than 40 CASSIN'S AUKLETS on the return along with hundreds of COMMON MURRES in both directions. We also counted almost 50 RHINOCEROS AUKLETS during our journey, well distributed throughout the day.
Three SHEARWATER species were seen well by all participants, including several elegant BULLER'S SHEARWATERS that flew very close to the boat. A few folks got fleeting glimpses at SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATERS; these birds should get easier to see as the season progresses.
Other pelagic bird highlights included broad plumage variation in NORTHERN FULMARS, with a couple birds sitting very close to the boat for close examination. We also attracted about a dozen BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES within close range at our stop over Perpetua Bank.
This observer got some of his best looks ever at POMARINE JAEGERS with more than 20 birds seen during the course of the day, many of which flew almost too close for photos! And just when we thought we were headed back to port, a powerful, dark SOUTH POLAR SKUA flew right over the boat providing excellent diagnostic looks for most participants.
On the "fin and fur" side of the chart, we also enjoyed an incredible day for marine fishes and mammals. At one point, we were explaining that we may only get fleeting glimpses of HARBOR PORPOISES, when we looked around the boat and seemed to be surrounded by a large pod of the secretive cetaceans. Among the group, a single PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHIN popped up.
Just when we thought we'd seen the day's mammal highlight, birders on the bow enjoyed dueling blows and a tail fluke from 2 HUMPBACK WHALES. We also had a couple DALL'S PORPOISES race past us like they were late for a meeting.
We always enjoy the antics of the CALIFORNIA SEA-LIONS at the harbor and HARBOR SEALS in the bay, but we didn't expect the NORTHERN FUR-SEAL that waved to us on our return trip, nor did we think to watch for the 4 STELLER'S SEA-LIONS on the buoys near the mouth of the Yaquina Bay.
Finally, we knew something fishy was up when we started counting dozens of BLUE SHARKS; our count of 76 was extremely conservative! Bow watchers on the return to port also got brief looks at 2 MAKO SHARKS among the crowd. We also saw lots of baby OCEAN SUNFISH, or MOLA-MOLA.
Bay: Yaquina Bay Near: Nearshore to 4 miles Out: trip out to Perpetua Bank Chum: Chum stop at Perpetua Bank, 32 nm off Yachats, Oregon Return: Return to port SPECIES, Bay|Near|Out|Chum|Return|TOTAL Pacific Loon 1| 2| 2| | | 5 Common Loon 4| 2| | | | 6 Horned Grebe 2| | | | | 2 Western Grebe 1| | | | | 1 Black-footed Albatross | | 2| 12| 1| 15 Northern Fulmar | | | 9| 2| 11 Pink-footed Shearwater | |129| 2| 16| 147 Buller's Shearwater | | 22| | 9| 31 Sooty Shearwater | 1|187| 1| 80| 269 Short-tailed Shearwater | | | | 4| 4 Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel | | | | 2| 2 Brown Pelican 1| | | | | 1 Double-crested Cormorant 13| | | | | 13 Brandt's Cormorant 19| 17| | | | 36 Pelagic Cormorant 1| 5| 24| | | 30 Great Blue Heron 1| | | | | 1 Surf Scoter 4| | 7| | 1| 12 White-winged Scoter | 3| | | | 3 Surfbird 16| | | | | 16 Sanderling 10| | | | | 10 Red Phalarope | | 2| | | 2 Pomarine Jaeger | | 8| 6| 7| 21 Parasitic Jaeger | | 3| 2| | 5 jaeger sp. | | 10| 1| 4| 15 South Polar Skua | | | | 1| 1 Heermann's Gull 3| 43| | | | 46 Mew Gull 4| | | | | 4 California Gull 2| 2| 2| 1| | 7 Herring Gull | 2| | | | 2 Western Gull 14| 49| 22| | 16| 101 Glaucous-winged Gull | | | | 1| 1 G-W X West. Gull 4| | | | | 4 Sabine's Gull | | | | 4| 4 Common Murre 5| 108|114| | 66| 293 Pigeon Guillemot 1| 19| | | | 20 Marbled Murrelet | 30| | | | 30 Cassin's Auklet | | 3| | 39| 42 Rhinoceros Auklet | 28| 8| 1| 11| 48 MAMMALS Harbor Seal 27| | | | | 27 California Sea-Lion 75| | | | | 75 Harbor Porpoise 1| 4| 13| | 1| 19 Pacific White-sided Dolphin | | 1| | | 1 Dall's Porpoise | | 2| | | 2 Humpback Whale | | | 2| | 2 Northern Fur-Seal | | | | 1| 1 Steller's Sea-Lion | | | | 4| 4 FISH Blue Shark | | 5| 6| 65| 76 Mako Shark | | | | 2| 2 Mola Mola | | 1| 7| 10| 18 Albacore | | | | 5| 5