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La Jolla Cove, Dec 14 afternoon


Stan Walens
 

I went to the Cove this afternoon, for just an hour, 2:30–3:30, after seeing Matt’s eBird report from this morning. The Cove has been pretty birdless for the last 2 weeks, what with the balmy Santa Ana zephyrs from the east. [okay, technically zephyrs are western winds; don’t know the word for their opposite direction equivalent]
Today there was a small front coming through, and some moderate northwest winds. Very choppy ocean, with lots of swells.


There was a massive congregation of black-vented shearwaters. They covered the ocean as far as I could see in every direction, out to the horizon.
Because they were swirling around, making huge circles in and out of the canyon, it is impossible to say just how many of them there were.
But at one point a stream of them started heading south just outside the kelp bed.
I counted 20 per second (!) for close to 6 minutes. That’s approximately 7000; and it didn’t include the birds not in that stream.
So I’d say there are somewhere between 7–10K BVSHs out there.
No other tubenoses in the flock, but the light was harsh and a lot of the birds were not in good scoping distance.
Did not see either of the two albinistic shearwaters Mat sae this morning. His descriptions fit those of the two birds I first reported from the Cove in August.

Didn’t count Pacific loons carefully because I was concentrating on the shearwaters, but I’d guesstimate 600 or so. 2 common loons.

A few surf scoters, brant. No jaegers near shore.

Stan Walens, San Diego
December 14, 2020; 5:00 pm