Pelagic trip report:
Saturday, October 6, 2012

10 hour trip, 0800-1800
From Newport, Oregon, NW 35 miles to 30 miles off Lincoln City.

Seas flat, no wind. Sunny. Water and air temperature about 50F.

Boat: Misty
Captain Rob Waddell
Newport Tradewinds Charter

The Bird Guide, Inc.
Pelagic Trips

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

Yaquina Light in calm seas just after sunrise.

Wow! Another trip with calm seas. That makes up for several years with mostly rough seas.

We had great looks at MARBLED MURRELETS nearshore. Smooth seas and blue skies reminded me of San Diego pelagic trips. As we made our way offshore we encountered a close TUFTED PUFFIN that allowed great looks by all.

With most larger fishing vessels now on AIS and location updated live on websites, we were able to check their location before departing. We determined that there were at least 5 fishing boats we could reach off to the northwest. If we had gone "blind" we would have missed the boats and most of the birds. My how pelagic trips have changed in the last two years because of this technology!

We encountered the fishing fleet near noon and were able to witness the transfer of fishing nets between boats. The Blue Fox pulled its nets in, full of fish, then let it down to float on the surface. Then the processing ship Island Enterprise backed up and picked up the net full of fish! All the while 10,000 birds milled about between them, hoping for some to "get away." Most of the birds behind the boats were CALIFORNIA GULLS and NORTHERN FULMARS, but WESTERN GULLS and 200 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES added additional numbers.

Two unusual birds out here 30 miles from shore was a single LAYSAN ALBATROSS and a SHORT-EARED OWL making lazy circles in the sky! Although this owl is not too surprising offshore, I believe this is my first time to spot one. A few SOUTH POLAR SKUAS here and on our return trip kept things exciting.

Then, about 20 miles west of Depoe Bay guide Russ Namitz spotted a BROWN BOOBY--Oregon's 5th record, and almost exactly where Oregon's first record occurred on October 5, 1998. Even though it was at least a half mile distant and flying away fast, Noah Strycker was able to get a diagnostic photo. It's a good thing, too, as my photo a few seconds later was at a mile distant and took quite some imagination to turn into a booby! The records committee will be very happy to have Noah's photo and not mine!

Brown Booby, Oregon's 5th record. Photo by Noah Strycker.

Trip photos: Greg's pBase photo album

Species list:

Northern Pintail 3 
Surf Scoter 59 
White-winged Scoter 15 
Common Loon 6 
Red-necked Grebe 1 (bay) 
Horned Grebe 12 (bay) 
Western Grebe 14 
Black-footed Albatross 286 
Northern Fulmar 3413 
Pink-footed Shearwater 255 
Bullerís Shearwater 2 
Sooty Shearwater 77 
Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel 2 
BROWN BOOBY 1 (5th Oregon record, photo by Noah Strycker) 
Brandtís Cormorant 30 
Double-crested Cormorant 10 
Pelagic Cormorant 90 
Brown Pelican 10 
Black Turnstone 2 (bay) 
Red-necked Phalarope 1 
Heermannís Gull 3 (bay) 
Mew Gull 3 (bay) 
Western Gull 1217 
California Gull 6179 
Herring Gull 75 
Thayerís Gull 3 
Glaucous-winged Gull 3 
South Polar Skua 5 
Pomarine Jaeger 2 
Parasitic Jaeger 4 
Common Murre 203 
Pigeon Guillemot 13 
Marbled Murrelet 25 
Cassinís Auklet 180 
Rhinoceros Auklet 20 
Tufted Puffin 2 
Peregrine Falcon 1 (bay) 

Harbor Porpoise 8 
Harbor Seal 3 (bay) 
Stellerís Sea Lion 2 
California Sea Lion 150 (bay) 
Northern Fur Seal 1 
Gray Whale 1 
Ocean Sunfish 1

Arctic Storm. One of 5 fishing vessels trailing thousands of birds.

Pelagic birding trips