Seabirding Opportunities

Debi Shearwater

Hello, Birders,

We are well into the sizzling days of summer and it’s a good time to think about lining up your pelagic trips. 

The year 2018 marks 43 years of offering pelagic trips by Shearwater Journeys! It has been an amazing journey, to be sure. Beginning August and running until October 21, we have a full line up of seabird and offshore trips ahead. Trips depart from Monterey Bay, Half Moon Bay, and Sausalito to the Farallon Islands. Presently, all trips on our program have spaces available except the August 11, Half Moon Bay trip which is sold out. A few trips are nearly sold out. 

Spaces are available on both of these trips, although only 4 spaces are open on the August 12 trip. 
DEPARTURE: 7:30 am from Clipper Yacht Harbor, Sausalito. Return about 4 pm.
From Sausalito, we’ll sail under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge on a spotlessly clean, stable catamaran with excellent deck space to see the largest breeding seabird colony south of Alaska. Absolutely teeming with seabirds, the past few years we’ve also encountered NORTHERN GANNET, BROWN and BLUE-FOOTED BOOBIES. We have a 100% success rate finding many amazing TUFTED PUFFINS, up close and personal. We’ll head out to the edge of the Continental Shelf to look for albatross and other seabirds, and whales. Great photo ops of not only the seabirds, but also the Golden Gate Bridge— from below. 
One trip report can be found here:

MONTEREY BAY: AUG. 3, 24, 31; SEP. 7, 8, 14, 16, 28, 29, 30; OCT. 6, 13, 21.
For four decades we have offered seabird trips at Monterey Bay, recording some of the most amazing records not only for California, but also first records for North America. August is a great time to get out for the early fall migrants, especially Arctic Tern and Sabine’s Gull. It is also one of the best months for HAWAIIAN PETREL which we found on our August 25, 2017 Monterey trip. I have seen at least 10 Hawaiian Petrels during August. 
DEPARTURE: 7:00 am from Chris’ Fishing Shop, Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey. Return about 3 pm.
There is almost no finer place than Monterey Bay to see the best variety of seabirds and marine mammals during the fall season. 

**PLEASE NOTE: AUGUST 3 we shall be searching for COOK’S PETRELS as 100+ were found on the recent Ventura pelagic trip. When this happened in 2009, we had a great time with Cook’s Petrels also showing up on our Monterey trips. It was a record year. 
Trip reports of 2009 and the Cook’s Petrel “invasion.”

We invented the albacore trip nearly thirty years ago. Always a sell out, this is the single hottest selling trip on our program— and with good reason. We have scored a number of “first records” including JOUANIN’S PETREL, STREAKED SHEARWATER, RED-TAILED and RED-BILLED TROPICBIRDS. This is the best trip to search for GUADALUPE and CRAVERI’S MURRELETS, all three jaeger species, SOUTH POLAR SKUA, and blue whales. Please note: There was a misprint on my postcard mailer for the SEPTEMBER 9 DATE— it is an albacore trip, not a bay trip. Spaces are available on September 9, but only 2spaces are available for September 15.  

More about the Albacore trips: 

HALF MOON BAY: AUG. 11 (SOLD OUT); SEP. 22, 23; OCT. 13.
We have a long history of being the first to offer pelagic trips departing from HMB. Expect the regular fall migrants with a chance to see Marbled Murrelet and possibly, the Northern Gannet. Rarities we have seen include: SALVIN’S ALBATROSS, WHITE-CHINNED PETREL, and several times, HAWAIIAN PETREL. 

COUNTY BIRDING: Usually, we cover at least two counties on each trip. So, for county birders, that’s a good thing. Some of our Monterey trips have a special focus in Santa Cruz County— a very difficult county for ticking seabirds. 

RESERVATIONS: To make a reservation on a trip that is close to sold out (which includes: Aug. 12; Sep. 7, 15), please email Debi: debi@...

CHUMMING: Shearwater Journeys has been collecting data on seabirds in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary for over 40 years. This unique data set provides information on potentially substantial changes in seabird populations over time, in this area. To ensure continued collection of data on seabirds in the sanctuary using consistent methodology, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has reissued a research permit to use fish and squid-based seabird attractants (chum) within the sanctuary boundaries. This year, the permit was expanded to include our departures from Half Moon Bay. The Sanctuary recognizes the potential research importance of data collected by researchers on birder-based pelagic trips. We shall be chumming on all Monterey Bay and Half Moon Bay trips this season and in 2019. You, as a participant, will be actively engaged in collection of data. Thank you, in advance. 

Seabirding for Science,
Debi Shearwater

Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
PO Box 190
Hollister, CA 95024

Celebrating 43 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater Journeys
Siberia’s Forgotten Coast & Spoon-billed Sandpiper- 25 June - 9 July 2019
Galapagos Islands: 30 October - 12 November 2019

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