Seawatch -- Black-vented Shearwaters et al, 12/31/18

Paul Saraceni

This morning I conducted my final seawatch of 2018 from the south-end of the Great Highway (7:20-9:20 AM).

Winds were strong from the N-NW and increased as the morning went on.  Visibility was excellent out to the horizon with beautiful light.

There was a big movement of Red-throated Loons N during the first 45 minutes, which is typical off of Ocean Beach first thing in the morning.

Between 7:40/7:50 AM I scoped 2 BLACK-VENTED SHEARWATERS flying N, a few minutes apart. Obvious compact shearwaters with uniform dark upperparts, and whitish underparts including underwings. Distinctive rapid fluttery flight-style, flying direct and low over the ocean surface with minimal, very short glides.

Just after 9 AM I observed a first-winter GLAUCOUS GULL flying N with other gulls over the surf: A large gull with very pale plumage overall with no dark markings. White primaries paler than the rest of the wing. Its bill was long and pink with distinct black tip.

Observations of local interest:


Surf Scoter 28


W. Grebe 12

Clark's Grebe 1

Common Murre 87

ANCIENT MURRELET 2 (flying N together)

MARBLED MURRELET 8 (2/2/2/2 flying N)

Murrelet sp. 2 (flying N)

Herring Gull 7

Iceland ("Thayer's") Gull 2

Glaucous-winged Gull 60

GLAUCOUS GULL 1 1w (flying N)

Red-thr. Loon 1620 (only counted flying N)

Pacific Loon 1

Common Loon 4

BLACK-VENTED SHEARWATER 2 (singles flying N between7:40/7:50)

Peregrine Falcon 1 (flew in from high over the ocean and continued E over the Zoo)


Paul Saraceni

San Francisco


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