Pelagic trip report:
Saturday, December 8, 2012

7 hour trip, 0800-1500
From Newport, Oregon, W 26 miles offshore.

Boat: Gracie K
Captain Shannon
Yaquina Bay Charters

The Bird Guide, Inc.
Pelagic Birding

Guides: Greg Gillson, Tim Shelmerdine, Shawneen Finnegan, Tom Snetsinger, David Mandell

Mottled Petrel. Photo by Ryan Abe.

Our LAYSAN ALBATROSS search trip went out today 26 miles west of Newport. Conditions were a bit damp early, but we had hazy sun offshore and not rain—all the precipitation was within 8 miles of shore where it was evidently rainy most of the day. Calmer seas once past Stonewall Bank, 12 miles offshore. We used a smaller, faster boat—a 7 hour trip because of available daylight.

We had 20 SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATERS and many BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES. Several RED PHALAROPES were noted. Our target LAYSAN ALBATROSS flew around our chum stop, along with 4 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES, with another seen later at a second chum stop. At our chum stop a MOTTLED PETREL flew by for all to see. It was flying fast and direct, low to the water, as there was very little wind (<5 miles per hour). A couple of passengers got good photos. I did not. Just before, I got a “replace battery” message on my camera. So I went down in the hold where my gear was stored. Then I heard the cry of petrel! I got one brief view of the dark belly and under wings as I cleared the cabin. This is the first Pterodroma seen on any of The Bird Guide pelagic trips—this our 151st trip.

A single BULLER’S SHEARWATER was only our 8th individual of the fall (I guess winter, now)—a very poor year for them along the West Coast. It seemed to have an injured wing. Two POMARINE JAEGERS were noted. Gull numbers were generally low. THAYER’S GULLS were the most common gull offshore--an unusual statement anywhere or anytime!

On our return trip David Mandell on the bow spotted a PARAKEET AUKLET in the water ahead. Most of us only saw it in flight flying away close to the stern. We in the back didn’t initially recognize it, calling it “Cassin’s” until we realized why it looked more black and white. Then a few minutes later another bird was spotted flying ahead of the boat. About half the participants saw at least one of the two birds.

Several HARLEQUIN DUCKS and a LONG-TAILED DUCK were in the bay, ending a fantastic day!

Additional trip photos on my pBase site.

Species list:

Brant 1 (bay)
Cackling Goose 75 
Northern Pintail 50 (bay)
Lesser Scaup 2 (bay)
Harlequin Duck 5 (bay)
Surf Scoter 165 
White-winged Scoter 7 
Long-tailed Duck 1 (bay)
Common Goldeneye 3 (bay)
Barrow’s Goldeneye 1 (bay)
Hooded Merganser 2 (bay)
Red-breasted Merganser 1 (bay)
Red-throated Loon 7 
Pacific Loon 50 
Common Loon 11 
Horned Grebe 5 (bay)
Red-necked Grebe 6 (bay)
Western Grebe 33 
Clark’s Grebe 1 (bay)
Brandt’s Cormorant 11 
Double-crested Cormorant 7 
Pelagic Cormorant 9 
Brown Pelican 15 
Great Blue Heron 1 (bay)
Black-footed Albatross 5 
Laysan Albatross 1 
Northern Fulmar 109 
Short-tailed Shearwater 20 
Sooty Shearwater 3 
Buller’s Shearwater 1 (late, broken wing)
Northern Harrier 1 (bay)
American Coot 1 (bay)
Black Turnstone 2 (bay)
Red Phalarope 12 
Black-legged Kittiwake 40 
Bonaparte’s Gull 4 
Heermann’s Gull 2 (bay)
Mew Gull 16
Western Gull 70 
California Gull 12 
Herring Gull 21
Thayer’s Gull 51
Glaucous-winged Gull 31 
Western x Glaucous-winged Gull 15 (bay)
Herring x Glaucous-winged Gull 1
Pomarine Jaeger 2
Common Murre 600 
Pigeon Guillemot 1 (bay)
Marbled Murrelet 2 
Cassin’s Auklet 8 
Rhinoceros Auklet 16 
American Crow 6 (bay)
European Starling 75 (bay)
Red Crossbill 15 (bay)

Northern Fur Seal 5 
California Sea Lion 19 (bay) 
Steller’s Sea Lion 6 
Harbor Seal 4 (bay) 
Harbor Porpoise 4 
Humpback Whale 3
Ocean Sunfish 1

Pelagic birding trips