No Salvin's, but warm water birds heading north!! Half Moon Bay pelagic.

Alvaro Jaramillo

Hello folks,


   Unfortunately we could not re-locate the Salvin’s Albatross yesterday although we tried hard in good waters with plenty of Black-footed Albatrosses. We did however find that warm water species are arriving early and in numbers, with Black Storm Petrel the most common storm petrel out there, giving great views both in San Francisco and San Mateo counties. We encountered Wilson’s Storm-Petrel three times, again in both counties. There were various “Mexican Murrelet” stops, some with birds flying away from the boat and unidentifiable, to amazing close up and personal looks. Craveri’s Murrelets were seen in both San Francisco and San Mateo counties, including a group in San Mateo that was not only easy to see, but calling! They had this neat trill, that Curtis Marantz likened to a Bohemian Waxwing. I only wished I had my mike there to have recorded it. It was like nothing I have heard at sea, so ringing and musical, and loud for a small bird! Photos here:    ID fanatics might note that this Craveri’s actually has a white chin, or at least my photo appears to show that. They are supposed to have a black chin, perhaps the photo is misleading, or this feature is not 100% reliable.


Scripps’s Murrelet was found with certainty only in San Mateo county, with a couple of pretty close ones to the boat:


South Polar Skua was found on three occasions, in both counties. However it was not a good jaeger day, but a nice dark morph Parasitic was superb early on in the trip. Two Common Terns were in San Francisco, and a good smattering of Sabine’s Gulls were about.


PREDICTIONS FOR THE SEASON – The warm water is in, and close to shore. This is not the blue colored, nutrient poor “tuna water” but greener and more nutrient rich water. This is where the murrelets are, and where we found the storm petrels. I think that these conditions are going to continue, with the very warm water in Baja still pretty strong there. Trips in the next month should have great opportunities for both Scripp’s and the sought after Craveri’s murrelets. What Guadalupe Murrelet is doing, we do not yet know as they have not been observed up here so far. The early and strong arrival of Black Storm-Petrels is interesting! My guess is that this may be the year to look for Least Storm-Petrel once the storm-petrel flocks form. I think we were close to a flock the other day, but just could not find it. California wide, look for Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrel down south. Crazy prediction? Lots of Buller’s will come in, a boom year, and we will have to be looking hard for Wedge-tailed Shearwaters very soon. This is promising to be a very interesting seabirds season in central California.


Next few trips with remaining spaces:

Aug 16 – heading to San Francisco waters of the Pioneer Canyon.

Aug 22 – Half Moon Bay pelagic. Will aim to go to both SF and SM counties.

Aug 23 – Monterey pelagic.


Good birding!




Alvaro Jaramillo



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