SD Pelagic -- Flesh-footed, Short-tailed Shearwaters, 27 Nov 2021


Gary Nunn
 

Five of us ventured offshore yesterday for a pelagic birding trip.  We motored west to the Nine Mile Bank, ran up the bank a bit northwest, then ran across to inshore waters off La Jolla and as far as Los Penasquitos Lagoon.  After making our eyeballs spin looking at thousands of Black-vented Shearwaters we went back out offshore again to the Upper Nine Mile Bank, then south down the bank before returning to San Diego Bay.  86 NM traveled on the water.  Once the early morning east wind stopped the ocean surface chop calmed down to very easy traveling conditions.  Birds were concentrated in two areas, most right off La Jolla and then we tracked down a second large assemblage of birds, pinnipeds, and cetaceans on the Upper Nine Mile Bank.

Bird highlights were very confiding individuals of FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER and SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER feeding among the frenzy of Common Dolphin and Humpback Whales at the Upper Nine Mile Bank approximately 13.3 NM west of Pacific Beach.  Sooty Shearwaters were also seen in the mob of bird and marine mammal life.  After pulling up nearby to the feeding frenzy the masses of small anchovy bait fish decided it was a good idea to gather strongly under our small center console.  This led to the two nearest Humpback Whales coming over to us and vertical lunge feeding right around the boat while we watched anchovy exploding out the water and mouths of these magnificent animals--epic time had by all!!

Preliminary bird totals for the day are below, many close photos of the shearwaters will be posted on eBird checklists later:

Common Murre (2 at 32°53'12" N 117°19'21" W) almost to Los Penasquitos Lagoon, 1 on Nine Mile Bank (32°50'42" N 117°21'0" W)
Pomarine Jaeger – 6
Cassin’s Auklet – 3
Rhinoceros Auklet – 5
Bonaparte’s Gull – 48
Glaucous-winged Gull  –  1
Common Loon – 11
Pacific Loon – 164
Northern Fulmar – 11
Pink-footed Shearwater – 10
FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER – 1
Sooty Shearwater – 2
SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER – 1
Black-vented Shearwater – 15,000
Brown Booby – 8

Also:

Humpback Whale – 3
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Gary Nunn
Pacific Beach