Pelagic Trip Report:
Sunday, October 7, 2001
Newport, Oregon, to Perpetua Bank, Lincoln Co.
12-hours

Shy Albatross. Photo by Bruce Craig.
Laysan, Shy, and Black-footed Albatross in one photo! Photo by Bruce Craig.

Trip report written by Tim Shelmerdine

This twelve hour trip left Newport just after its scheduled departure time of 7:00 am. Despite the threatening weather forecast and an overcast sky, the ocean was very pleasant with small swells. We tallied the usual cormorants, gulls and loons in Yaquina Bay, then headed south from the jetties paralleling the beach. Harbor Porpoises, scoters, Rhinoceros Auklets and our first Sooty Shearwaters put in an appearance and we had our first looks at Marbled Murrelets. We then headed out toward where we had released a Thick-billed Murre the previous day, however our search for this bird was in vain.

Our trip southwest toward Perpetua Bank yielded sightings of two South Polar Skuas and most of the other expected tubenoses (Buller's and Pink-footed Shearwaters and Northern Fulmars). We also started seeing good numbers of jaegers, mostly Pomarine. Numerous Cassin's and Rhinoceros Auklets kept passengers honing their alcid identifying skills. We came across some interesting mammals on the way out, sighting a pod of Pacific White-sided Dolphins and two Northern Fur Seals, one a very young animal. A sighting of a single Laysan Albatross was a welcome life bird for a number of passengers.

Sabine's Gull. Photo by Bruce Craig.
Sabine's Gull. Photo by Bruce Craig.

As we neared Perpetua Bank, we added Black-footed Albatross to our trip list. We also became aware of a trawler/processor working about a mile beyond our usual chum spot, so headed for the cloud of birds trailing this vessel. It was an old acquaintance, the American Dynasty, near which we had also birded in August. At this point, the leaders realized that this ship would have drawn virtually all the birds in the vicinity and traveling further southwest would be a waste of time. Among the swirling birds, passengers were able to identify Flesh-footed and Short-tailed Shearwaters among the more common Sooties, Pink-foots and fulmars and albatrosses. A second Laysan Albatross and another skua was sighted. Numerous Pomarine Jaegers harassed gulls and tubenoses alike. After the trawler pulled its net filled with hake and a few squid, we worked back along the trailing birds and saw the bird of the trip. A bird originally identified as another Laysan Albatross did not deceive veterans of a similar sighting. Its larger size, bill color and size, different under wing pattern and lighter mantle allowed us to identify Oregon's (and the Bird Guide's) second Shy (White-capped) Albatross. This bird approached the boat, then allowed the boat to approach several times before we finally had to head back to shore. Many photos were taken and some will doubtless appear on the web in the future.

Shy Albatross. Photo by Wayne Hoffman.
Shy Albatross; the second Oregon record. Photo by Wayne Hoffman.

The forecast winds and high ocean swells never materialized and nearly constant birds in sight made for a pleasant trip back. We saw several Dall's Porpoises, and then a pod of Risso's Dolphins close to the boat gave passengers awesome views of an uncommon marine mammal and added to an amazing day on the ocean. Although we had time for another short search in vain for our Thick-billed Murre, this was the only negative on an otherwise outstanding pelagic trip.

Key to table:
Bay: Yaquina Bay
Near: Nearshore to 4 miles offshore (only counted on trip out)
Out: 4-30 miles offshore Lincoln Co.
Chum: Following "American Dynasty" at Perpetua Bank chum stop, Lincoln Co.
Return: Return trip from Perpetua Bank to 4 miles offshore

                           Bay|Near|Out|Chum|Ret|Total
Pacific Loon                 1|   2|   |    |   |    3
Common Loon                  3|  11|   |    |   |   14
loon sp.                      |   2|   |    |   |    2
Western Grebe                 |   7|   |    |   |    7
SHY ALBATROSS                 |    |   |   1|   |    1
LAYSAN ALBATROSS              |    |   |   2|   |    2
Black-footed Albatross        |    |  1| 273|   |  274
Northern Fulmar               |   1|  8| 323|  1|  333
Pink-footed Shearwater        |   1| 19| 100| 20|  140
Buller's Shearwater           |    | 10|   3| 21|   34
FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER       |    |   |   6|   |    6
Sooty Shearwater              |  37|632| 204|138| 1011
Short-tailed Shearwater       |    |  1|  15|   |   16
shearwater sp.                |    |   |    | 32|   32
Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel      |    |   |    |  1|    1
Brown Pelican                8|   6|   |    |   |   14
Double-crested Cormorant    17|    |   |    |   |   17
Brandt's Cormorant          83|   6|   |    |   |   89
Pelagic Cormorant            1|  12|   |    |   |   13
Great Blue Heron             5|    |   |    |   |    5
Surf Scoter                 12| 127|   |    |   |  139
White-winged Scoter           |  12|   |    |   |   12
scoter sp.                    | 100|   |    |   |  100
Surfbird                     2|    |   |    |   |    2
Red-necked Phalarope          |    |   |   2|  5|    7
                           Bay|Near|Out|Chum|Ret|Total
SOUTH POLAR SKUA              |    |  2|   1|  1|    4
Pomarine Jaeger               |    |  6|  25|  1|   32
Parasitic Jaeger              |    |   |   1|  1|    2
LONG-TAILED JAEGER            |    |   |   1|  1|    2
jaeger sp.                    |    |  5|   5|  3|   13
Heermann's Gull              1|  15|  1|    |   |   17
Sabine's Gull                 |    |   |  28|   |   28
Bonaparte's Gull              |   1|   |    |   |    1
Black-legged Kittiwake        |    |   |   2|   |    2
Mew Gull                     8|    |   |    |   |    8
California Gull              4|    |  8| 121|  4|  137
Herring Gull                  |   1|  1|    |   |    2
Thayer's Gull                 |    |   |    |  1|    1
Western Gull                35|  68|  2|   6|  3|  114
Glaucous-winged Gull         3|    |   |   2|   |    5
gull sp.                    75|  30| 20|    |  9|  134
tern sp.                      |    |   |   1|   |    1
Common Murre                 3|  41| 67|    | 20|  131
Pigeon Guillemot              |   8|   |    |   |    8
Marbled Murrelet              |   6|   |    |   |    6
Cassin's Auklet               |   1| 96|   6| 47|  150
Rhinoceros Auklet             |   5| 59|   5| 42|  111

                           Bay|Near|Out|Chum|Ret|Total
Harbor Seal                  8|    |   |    |   |    8
California Sea Lion         59|   1|   |    |   |   60
Northern Fur Seal             |    |  3|    |   |    3
Harbor Porpoise               |   6|   |    |   |    6
Dall's Porpoise               |    |  2|    |  5|    7
Pacific White-sided Dolphin   |    | 12|    |   |   12
RISSO'S DOLPHIN               |    |   |    |  8|    8

                           Bay|Near|Out|Chum|Ret|Total
Ocean Sunfish                 |    |   |    |  3|    3
Blue Shark                    |    |   |   1|  2|    3
shark sp.                     |    |  1|    |   |    1

Flesh-footed Shearwater. Photo by Wayne Hoffman.
Flesh-footed Shearwater. Photo by Wayne Hoffman.

Risso's Dolphin. Photo by Wayne Hoffman.
Risso's Dolphin. Photo by Wayne Hoffman.

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