Hello, SF Birders,
After blowing at gale force all day and into the evening of September 28th (forcing us to cancel our Half Moon Bay departure that day), it was hard to believe that the seas would actually lay down enough for us to get out the next day.
Much to our delight, the seas laid down nicely, and we had a beautiful day, September 29, 2019 on the Shearwater Journeys’ pelagic trip from Half Moon Bay.
I’d like to say that the light morph WEDGE-TAILED SHEARWATER was the highlight of the day, but sadly it was only seen by two birders on the boat. Perhaps, it will be found on another trip this fall. It’s possible because we’ve done it before. I’m unsure whether this shearwater was in San Mateo or San Francisco County. We are working on that.
Nevertheless, Shearwater Journeys had a fantastic pelagic trip with nearly 100 BULLER’S SHEARWATERS, one SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER, 18 WILSON’S STORM-PETRELS, 49 ASHY STORM-PETRELS, and 26 BLACK STORM-PETRELS. The storm-petrels, shearwaters, jaegers, and SOUTH POLAR SKUAS showed well in the stern where many folks obtained good images. SABINE’S GULLS were scarce with only 3 recorded. Only one ARCTIC TERN was recorded. BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES showed well and NORTHERN/PACIFIC FULMAR numbers increased to 22.
A few CASSIN’S AUKLETS, plenty of RHINOCEROS AUKLETS, 2 TUFTED PUFFINS and nearly 2000 COMMON MURRES rounded out the alcids.
Numbers of phalaropes were low with only 1 RED-NECKED and 3 REDS.
The cetacean show was dominated by as many as 8 BLUE WHALES and 25 HUMPBACK WHALES, although one very friendly humpback whale stole the show— popping up and looking at us repeatedly from one side of the boat to the other. I haven’t seen such a friendly humpback in a few years.
Even though the sea surface temperatures at Monterey Bay averaged 60-62 F all day on Friday, September 27th, the SST’s at Half Moon Bay only two days later were much cooler, averaging 53-55 F. Lots of mixing going on! We birded in both San Mateo and San Francisco Counties.
SEP. 29, 2019 SHEARWATER JOURNEYS’ PELAGIC TRIP: BIRDS IN SAN FRANCISCO COUNTY:
BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS- 12
NORTHERN FULMAR- 14
PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER- 41
*WEDGE-TAILED SHEARWATER- 1, COUNTY TO BE DETERMINED
BULLER’S SHEARWATER- 61
SOOTY SHEARWATER- 241
SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER- 1
WILSON’S STORM-PETREL- 16
ASHY STORM-PETREL- 49
BLACK STORM-PETREL- 25
BRANDT’S CORMORANT- 4
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER- 1
RED PHALAROPE- 1
SOUTH POLAR SKUA- 8
POMARINE JAEGER- 5
PARASITIC JAEGER- 2
LONG-TAILED JAEGER- 3
SABINE’S GULL- 3
COMMON MURRE- 115
CASSIN’S AUKLET- 6
RHINOCEROS AUKLET- 20
TUFTED PUFFIN- 1
Living the Salt Life,
Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
PO Box 190
Hollister, CA 95024
Celebrating 44 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater Journeys
Siberia’s Forgotten Coast & Spoon-billed Sandpiper- 23 June - 6 July 2020
Northeast Passage: Northern Sea Route 27 July - 22 August 2020