pelagic trip preliminary results

Robert Keiffer <rjkeiffer@...>

7 November 2011 - Yesterday's pelagic trip out of Noyo Harbor, Fort Bragg went quite well. We left the harbor at 8:00 AM and headed almost due west until we were over the Noyo Canyon ... this was out about 12-14 miles. Water temp was 54 degrees at that point. From there we headed south towards warmer water temps and then eventually turned back towards Noyo and headed in. We had a constant flock of gulls following the boats chum-line of popcorn, dripped menhaden oil, and a few tidbits of beef fat, bait fish, and fish carcasses. We stopped three different times to layout a menhaden/cod oil slick ... which seemed to attract birds on every occasion. The leaders Ron LeValley, Rob Fowler, and Peter Pyle are still summarizing the totals, and I or Rob Fowler will post those final results when available. The swells at times were 12 to 15 feet, but spread apart and therefore not to uncomfortable... there were few whitecaps, a couple rain showers, mostly cloudy but sunshine in the afternoon ... with good visibility throughout the day.

There were 23 participants aboard the Telstar Charter boat for the trip which was sponsored by the Peregrine Audubon Society via a grant from the Mendocino County Fish & Game Commission. The focus of the grant was to gather bird and mammal data during a time of the year that there is currently little data for Mendocino County waters.

Highlights include: quite a few Black-footed Albatross, 1 or 2 Laysan Albatross; lots and lots of Northern Fulmars in every color phase possible; Buller's Shearwaters, Pink-footed Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwaters, and 1 definite Short-tailed Shearwater (a couple other possibles), a probable Flesh-footed Shearwater, NO storm-petrels, a few Brown Pelicans, a Peregrine Falcon, a Pomarine Jaeger (maybe a couple more jaegers), and many gulls including Heermann's, Bonaparte's, Mew, California, Herring, Thayer's, Western, Glaucous-winged, and Black-legged Kittiwake; no terns; alcids included Common Murres, 1 or 2 Xantus's Murrelets (seen from the bow of the boat), Cassin's Auklets, and many Rhinoceros Auklets. Marine mammals were lacking with only a couple Dall's Porpoise and Harbor Porpoise seen, one probable Steller's (Northern) Sea Lion and California Sea Lions at Noyo Harbor.

Good birding. Bob Keiffer

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