Sunday offshore

David Povey

Four of us did a short run offshore, out of Mission Bay,  Sunday the 28th. We stayed relatively close in as the weather forecast was for strong and gusty north winds. Actual conditions were near calm although the sea surface had a short-ish left over west wind wave.  Our track was southwest from the bay to about the 250 fathom line ( about 7 n. miles out ) then turned north , and following that line to  just south of the La Jolla Canyon.

We had a Parasitic Jaeger off the end of the Mission Bay Jetty. A few south bound Pacific Loons near shore. Northbound Black-vented Shearwaters,  Bonaparte's, and California Gulls further out. Then quiet with a scattering of Cassin's Auklet into La Jolla. The  Cassin's all seemed well fed as few flew to escape the boat. Choosing to dive or wing scull out of the way.

We found one lone Red Phalarope on a feeding actively at a large kelp paddy.

La Jolla was a different story. We found a wide spread area of feeding gulls, and Black-vented Shearwaters (see numbers below). The food was small Northern Anchovy (2-3 inches long) being pushed to the surface by Pacific Mackerel  (12 inches ) (confirmed by catch with rod and reel). The water in places full of shiny scales from the feeding frenzy. Even Bonaparte's Gulls were seen with these small anchovies in the bills. Interestingly many of the Black-vented Shearwater were so full that they like the Cassin's Auklets could not gain the air to fly. They then would regurgitate their catch, leaving a number of partially digested anchovies in their wake. Hard day to be an anchovy.

Interestingly no boobies. Perhaps, as I surmise, small anchovies are not booby food, and mackerel this size maybe too big. I still think Brown Boobies are all about sardines. There seems to be numbers sardines down off Imperial Beach and perhaps more further south..

We did check  get the many scattered rafts of shearwaters for any other species, but had no success there. We did have one mostly white headed and bodied Black-vented Shearwater that we all think we seen before (dreams of Cape Petrel).

A check of the south Mission Bay Jetty on the way home had two Surfbirds and a single Black Turnstone.

List of offshore species;

Surf Scoter   2

Pacific Loon   10

Eared Grebe   3

Common Loon   1

Black-vented Shearwater   1200

Brandt's Cormorant   8

Brown Pelican  54  (almost all sub adult)

Spotted Sandpiper  1  (so.M.B. Jetty)

Black Turnstone  1  (so. M.B. Jetty)

Surfbird 2  (so. M.B. Jetty)

Red Phalarope  1

Pomarine Jaeger   2

Parasitic Jaeger   3

jaeger sp.  1

Cassin's Auklet  65

Bonaparte's Gull   600

Heermann's Gull   17

Ring-billed Gull   3

Western Gull    300

California Gull   2500

Herring Gull   4

"Thayer's " Gull   1

Glaucous-winged  X  ?  Gull   1

Royal Tern   1


Dave Povey



p.s. The San Diego Audubon Bird Festival has three days of pelagic trips, Feb 23, 24, and 25th. see their website for information and booking

p.p.s. Buena Vista Audubon sponsors two spring at three fall trips out of  San Diego Bay see details at





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