Feb. 8, 2019 pelagic scouting
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Four of us did a pre- San Diego Audubon Bird Festival scouting trip offshore on Friday Feb. 8, 2018. Very nice conditions with a small swell and east breeze.
Birds of note;
A clean looking Sooty Shearwater was on the Nine Mile Bank.
Four Scripps's Murrelets were 7 n.miles west of Pacific Beach. A little early but expected by week three or four of Feb.
A Rhinoceros Auklet was seen at the North end of the Nine Mile Bank. This species nearly absent last year. I recorded only one in all of 2018. (20 in 2017
all but one in first half).
Two Surfbirds were on the Mission Bay jetties. One on the north jetty, one on the south jetty.
A Peregrine Falcon chasing a Rock Pigeon a half mile off the north Mission Beach Jetty was a bit odd. The pigeon would have been doomed if not for
the intervention of a Western Gull.
Overall inshore areas were very quiet. Offshore, the south end of the U.S. portion of the Nine Mile Bank and on down in to Mexican waters, had a huge
feeding congregation. Mostly Black-vented Shearwaters, and California Gulls, both in the thousands., That area held most of the Cassin's Auklets, a
scattering of Bonaparte's Gulls, and our lone Sooty Shearwater, Brown Booby and Glaucous-winged Gull.
The area six or seven miles west of Bird Rock La Jolla had even a larger feeding congregation. That one in the "tens" of thousands, and covering several
square miles. The birds here feeding on N. Anchovy. Again mostly Black-vents, and Cal Gulls, but also a mix of cormorants, pelicans, and other gulls.
Interestingly a lone Red Phalarope, a several Cassin's Auklets were in the mob. Again a scattering of Bonaparte's Gulls, as well as few a Heermann's Gulls
We saw three leucistic Black-vented Shearwaters on the day. One in particular made an impression, as it was entirely white except for the dark bill, eye
and flight feathers. Like a mini "Masked Booby". I'm sure one of the guys will have some photos of that one.
Last we had a nice mammal show. Particularly a cooperative pod of Risso's Dolphin 9 miles west of Mission Bay.
Sea Surface Temperatures 56.8 (normal) to 61.9 F (Warm !) Mostly 59 F.