Re: Fulmar & Shark

Josiah Clark

What a cool sighting! I agree with Peter. Several sf birders watched a thresher shark breaching repeatedly at Baker Beach a couple years ago. This was the first ever Inaturalist record for the species for the city. This is a species I see quite often and sometimes hook while Salmon Fishing, sometimes almost hitting the kayak. The one we saw at Baker Beach with small but they can get up to over 1000 pounds I believe.Their massive tail is not always obvious as they jump. 
I noticed Dominic witnessed a large feeding frenzy just a week ago. Meanwhile my fishing friends caught the first halibut of the season. IIt seems the bait fish season has begun. Thresher sharks are all about bait fish, so no concern for swimmers or surfers. 
This does mean we have a seriously different ocean on our hands. Basically more anchovies in the winter than anyone’s ever seen, from what I can tell. This is also the reason we are seeing humpback whales in winter, something we never ever used to see.
 Suddenly I’m thinking about salmon. With every season realizing it could be the last one.

Josiah Clark | Habitat Potential | Consulting Ecologist | 415.317.3978
License #1043929

On Mar 4, 2021, at 3:58 PM, Peter Pyle <ppyle@...> wrote:

Hi Brian -

I would guess (tentatively) either thresher shark or white shark based on your description of size and behavior. No other sharks around here typically jump out of the water and many are not gray dorsally. March is the month in which young white sharks (10-12') start practicing preying on mammals and this sort of behavior (often misses) toward just about anything on the surface is expected. Prior to this age they feed on fish. Thresher usually is more of a warm-water species and I've mostly seen them jump in fall rather than spring (and especially might not expect this in a cold-ocean spring such as this one). 10-12' would also be quite large for a thresher. So my leaning would be toward a white shark.


At 02:03 PM 3/4/2021, Brian Fitch wrote:
A motley gray Northern Fulmar flew quite close to the Sutro Baths terrace this morning, the only bird species of note among an exciting set of other oceanic animals.

Bottlenosed Dolphins started the show, at least six of them swam past heading into the Gate around 7:15.  What appeared to be the same group returned around 9, and spent some time fishing between me and North Rock. A single distant spout was likely my first Gray Whale of the year, a number of Harbor Porpoise were scattered about, and only one sea lion passed by.

The highlight was my first ever shark species seen from land in the city.  I was scope scanning a feeding frenzy of gulls and cormorants when I caught a brief but perfect profile view of a shark lunging out of the water at a diagonal.  I could see the angular open jaws, the flat head, and the relatively high triangular dorsal fin, but nothing behind that.  It appeared to be completely steel gray as far as I could tell at distance, and judging from a nearby Harbor Porpoise and the birds, it was between 10-12 feet in length.  I've been looking on-line at different species known to dwell in our waters, but there are several that could match up, and I doubt that I'll be able to ID it exactly.

Brian Fitch

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