I spent 2.5 hours at the Cove this morning. Fortunate to have Sue Smith join me; her eBird reports document the birds we saw.
Went back at 12:30 when the sun had come out and the wind had picked up. Was there when the announcement of the Laysan Albatross came onto the listserv. Stayed until a bit after 5:30.
First of all, no Laysan.
Most of the seabirds, and a lot of common dolphins, were feeding way offshore, on the horizon. Nothing looked big enough to be an albatross, and even if something had been, it’s too far away to identify.
I was hoping the albatross might leave the distant feeding flocks and head in closer to shore, where there were a lot of fishing boats. Nope.
I’ve been on enough whale-watching trips this season to know the location of the minke whales: about 4–5 miles west of Pt. La Jolla and a little less than 2 miles south. They move around a little bit, but have stayed pretty localized.
Considering that albatrosses can fly 24/7 at speeds of 30+ mph, the bird could be in Monterey Bay by now, or back at Guadalupe Island.
Some nice birds during my 5 hours in the afternoon.
Still hundreds of black-vented shearwaters and a dozen black storm-petrels. 2 sooty shearwaters.
Several hundred phalaropes of undetermined species.
6 parasitic jaegers: 5 close enough to see that they were birds of the year; one too distant to tell age.
7 boobies: 6 definite brown boobies, and one definitely not a brown. As it flew past just outside the kelp line I got a quick view, and I could see a basically brown-backed bird with white splotches on the back. But just as it came into view, a battalion—nay, verily an entire regiment—of tourists decided to plant themselves in the space in front of me for the next 10 minutes. So either a juvenile masked-type, which given its dark head color is what I think it was—or a blue-footed.
I’m sure a bunch of birders will be on the Privateer tomorrow.
Wind doesn’t get into double digits until 11:00 a.m.; it’ll be cloudy until >9:00 .am.
Stan Walens, San Diego
July 31, 2019; 9:50 p.m.