Pelagic trip report - Sun Oct 4.
Belated trip report, it has been a busy week. Yes, the season has turned, the late season birds are here. Overall the weather was a bit less amenable than the forecast had suggested, this meant we had to go a bit farther north into the weather to get offshore. It worked, and were able to drive south in a following sea through the Pioneer Canyon and then stayed off the continental shelf until we had to head back to port. We started off nicely with a pair of Marbled Murrelets close to shore as well as a couple of Parasitic Jaegers. Heading offshore I did get a very troubling feeling, there was little to nothing other than Common Murres as we went out, it took a long time to see a shearwater! In fact I saw an Ashy Storm-Petrel before I saw a Sooty Shearwater on this trip. But once we arrived at the continental shelf things began to sort out with Sooty, Pink-footed, and Buller’s shearwaters, Black-footed Albatross, as well as Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets. It was a good day for Rhino Auklets, lots out there. Perhaps associated with these numbers we found two Tufted Puffins, a juvenile and a non-breeding adult; puffins at this time of year are very neat to see, so different from the summer. Heading south we picked up more Ashy Storm-Petrels, many Black Storm-Petrels and a Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel. South Polar Skua, two Long-tailed Jaegers (together) and Pomarine jaegers gave us the skua-jaeger “grand slam.” We picked up Blue Whales, which have been hard to find in central CA, we were able to share this information with Monterey Bay Whalewatch who are working with a TV/Film crew (BBC??) and they have been looking for Blue Whales, fortunately our magic spot worked for them a couple of days later and they were able to get some footage that we may see in a documentary in the future!
On our way back more Buller’s Shearwaters showed up, and a flock of Sooty Shearwaters had an individual that was flying around with a darker underwing, a Short-tailed Shearwater. As well, about 10 miles offshore our first of the season Black-vented Shearwater showed up and a few more in the next 20 minutes or so. All jaegers and South Polar Skua, three species of storm-petrels and 5 species of shearwater, diversity is up! We have two spots on Oct 18, and a few more on the 24th remaining. https://www.alvarosadventures.com/pelagic-dates-2020.html
Also, I am doing a “Big Walk for Rhinoceros Auklets” a walking big day next week where I am asking for donations to Oikonos for the Año Nuevo Island project, restoring habitat and monitoring Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets on the island. Hopefully I can break 110 species on foot power, and will likely walk about 20 miles assuming I survive!! Please donate – more details here: