Pelagic Trip Report:
Saturday, October 6, 2001
Newport, Oregon, to Perpetua Bank, Lincoln Co., and Heceta Bank and Deep Water in Lane Co.
12-hours

Written by: Stephen Shunk <3sisters@OUTLAWNET.COM

Greetings birders,

While Sunday's SHY ALBATROSS clearly spotlighted The Bird Guide's second trip of this past weekend, Saturday's trip still had its share of highlights, not the least of which was the opportunity to assist in the release of Oregon's first live THICK-BILLED MURRE.

The 10/6 Bird Guide pelagic trip to Heceta Bank started with an anomaly of sorts when we tallied our first SOOTY SHEARWATER inside the Yaquina Bay Bridge. Then, before we could get outside the jetties, we all got superb close-up looks at a CASSIN'S AUKLET.

A couple special avian guests and their escort dictated our next stop as we immediately headed a few miles offshore. Senior aviculturist Todd Dunkirk of the Oregon Coast Aquarium introduced our human passengers to a recently rehabilitated COMMON MURRE. Todd pointed out key identifying features of the bird before releasing it beside the Surfrider. Then Todd unveiled the THICK-BILLED MURRE described in recent postings. We all enjoyed observing the contrasting features of this beautiful bird before sending it back to the sea from whence it came.

After watching "our" murres scuttle off into the sunrise, we headed for deeper waters. We passed through hundreds of SOOTY SHEARWATERS and picked up our first SOUTH POLAR SKUA of the day before discovering two NORTHERN FUR SEALS, an adult and its pup, lounging for all of us to enjoy.

Our first chum stop over Perpetua Bank attracted about a dozen BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES and dozens of NORTHERN FULMARS. On our way to Heceta Bank, bow spotters observed two MAKO SHARKS and we came upon a gorgeous LAYSAN ALBATROSS.

More BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES joined us at our Heceta Bank chum stop, and our JAEGER numbers for the trip jumped over 15 individuals. We also enjoyed a migrating NORTHERN PINTAIL that circled the boat a few times. A venture out to even deeper water (1000+ fathoms) resulted in at least five more JAEGERS and our second and third SOUTH POLAR SKUAS of the day. But we obviously hadn't had enough highlights yet.

The trip back to near-shore waters generated another 13 JAEGERS, two more SOUTH POLAR SKUAS, and single individuals of both FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER and FORK-TAILED STORM-PETREL. Our final run back to port took us along shore south of Newport. Despite choppy water, we picked out a couple MARBLED MURRELETS and tallied over a hundred SURF SCOTERS, one flock of which contained four BLACK SCOTERS, and another of which was led by a dozen BRANT.

Finally, one of our mammal highlights came late in the trip when we watched a GRAY WHALE perform a full breach while it and its companion cavorted in the waters close to shore.

Key to table:
Bay: Yaquina Bay
Near: Nearshore to 4 miles offshore (out and return)
Out: 4-30 miles offshore Lincoln Co.
Chum: Perpetua Bank chum stop, Lincoln Co.
Lane: Heceta Bank chum stop and Deep Water, 35-60 nm offshore
Return: Return trip from deep water to Newport, Lincoln Co.

                           Bay|Near|Out|Chum|Lane|Ret|Total
Common Loon                  1|   2|   |    |    |   |    3
loon sp.                      |   3|   |    |    |   |    3
Western Grebe                 |   1|   |    |    |   |    1
LAYSAN ALBATROSS              |    |   |   1|    |   |    1
Black-footed Albatross        |    |  5|  19|   9|  3|   36
Northern Fulmar               |    |  6|  63|   9| 11|   86
Pink-footed Shearwater        |    | 11|   5|   6|  9|   31
Buller's Shearwater           |    |  6|   1|    |  7|   14
FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER       |    |   |    |    |  1|    1
Sooty Shearwater             1|   6|123|  12|  12|144|  298
shearwater sp.                |    |  3|   1|   1| 13|   18
Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel      |    |   |    |    |  1|    1
Brown Pelican                1|    |   |    |    |   |    1
Double-crested Cormorant    15|    |   |    |    |   |   15
Brandt's Cormorant          73|   1|   |    |    |   |   74
Pelagic Cormorant            5|   2|   |    |    |   |    7
Great Blue Heron             2|    |   |    |    |   |    2
Brant                         |  12|   |    |    |   |   12
Northern Pintail              |  20|   |    |   1|   |   21
Surf Scoter                 14| 106|   |    |    |   |  120
White-winged Scoter          1|  20|   |    |    |   |   21
Black Scoter                  |   4|   |    |    |   |    4
Surfbird                     3|  15|   |    |    |   |   18
Black Turnstone               |   4|   |    |    |   |    4
Sanderling                  15|    |   |    |    |   |   15
Red Phalarope                 |    |   |    |    |  4|    4
phalarope sp.                 |    |   |    |    |  5|    5
                           Bay|Near|Out|Chum|Lane|Ret|Total
SOUTH POLAR SKUA              |    |  1|    |   2|  2|    5
Pomarine Jaeger               |    |  2|   2|   5|  1|   10
Parasitic Jaeger              |    |   |   2|   2|   |    4
jaeger sp.                    |    |  4|   1|   1| 12|   18
Heermann's Gull              4|   8|  1|    |    |   |   11
Mew Gull                     2|   1|   |    |    |   |    3
California Gull              3|    |  9|  19|  18|  2|   51
Herring Gull                  |    |   |   2|    |   |    2
Western Gull                24|  30| 13|   4|   7|   |   78
Glaucous-winged Gull         3|    |   |    |    |   |    3
gull sp.                      |   9|  4|  21|  13|  9|   56
Common Murre                  |  55| 40|    |    | 30|  125
Pigeon Guillemot              |   2|   |    |    |  1|    3
Marbled Murrelet              |   2|   |    |    |   |    2
Cassin's Auklet              1|    |  8|   1|    | 19|   29
Rhinoceros Auklet             |  19| 30|   2|    | 13|   64
alcid sp.                     |    |   |    |    |  2|    2

                           Bay|Near|Out|Chum|Lane|Ret|Total
Harbor Seal                   |  11|   |    |    |   |   11
California Sea Lion         37|    |   |    |    |   |   37
Northern Fur Seal             |    |  2|    |    |   |    2
Harbor Porpoise               |   1|  1|    |    |   |    2
Dall's Porpoise               |    |   |    |    |  2|    2
Gray Whale                    |   2|   |    |    |   |    2

                           Bay|Near|Out|Chum|Lane|Ret|Total
Ocean Sunfish                 |    |  2|    |   2|   |    4
MAKO SHARK                    |    |   |   2|    |   |    2
Blue Shark                    |    |  1|   2|   1|   |    4


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