Saturday offshore Jan 2, 2020, upcoming pelagics, and misc note on Harris's Hawk
Matt Sadowski and I did a run offshore Saturday out of San Diego Bay.
I was unsure what we would find as both the ocean portions of San Diego ( 12-19-20 ) and Oceanside ( 12-26-20 ) CBC's were disappointing in numbers and variety.
Our portion of San Diego's CBC had three Black-vented Shearwaters, one Brown Booby, 22 Bonaparte's Gulls, no phalaropes, no jaegers ( fortunately Paul Lehman picked up both POJA, and PAJA for the count on the sea watch at I.B), no alcids, and the sea surface temps were cold as 54-58 degrees F.
Then on the Oceanside's count, at sea, we turned up a very good number of BVSH ( 2200 most moving north ) , one Bonaparte's Gull, no phalaropes, jaegers, alcids, no booby. and again the water quite cold, 57-59 Saturday's trip turned up some birds out there. Nothing wildly unusual, and they are just well offshore. Most beyond 5 n.miles, and many more at 10 n.miles plus. We covered a wide area from below Point Loma,including the Nine Mile Bank covered south to north and all the way into La Jolla Canyon. Most birds are south of a line from west of Mission Bay and outside the first drop off.
The following is a partial list and numbers. To be adjusted for eBird hourly protocol.
Northern Fulmar 1
Pink-footed Shearwater 1
dark shearwater sp. 1 ( although I had a rather poor look, I felt it fit the Short-tailed/Sooty type )
Black-vented Shearwater 4000 + included three leucistic birds, and an unusual melanistic, or oiled bird
Brown Booby 1
Red Phalarope 4
Parasitic Jaeger 1
Pomarine Jaeger 3-5
jaeger sp. 2
Scripps's Murrelet 2 (15-16 n. miles )
Cassin's Auklet 1
Rhinoceros Auklet 2-3 ( two on the 178 fathom spot, 14 n.m. This spot is as regular a stake out location for the species as one gets on the ocean).
Bonaparte's Gull 1000+ most over the deep water inside the Nine Mile Bank, and over the sewer outlet
California Gull 700 most over the sewer outlet
Royal Tern 5-6 ( common inshore, some of these over the Nine Mile Bank were unusual )
Many birders use the whale watch boats this time of year, as an option for pelagic birding. Whale watching is near peak right now but most whales are right along the kelp line. The interesting birds are far to the west.
I think much of what one would see from the whale watch boats right now could be seen from a sea watch at La Jolla. This is just for general information. I don't intend to discourage anyone from enjoying a day whale watching.
Upcoming trips offshore; San Diego Audubon has scheduled three days of trips offshore for the Bird Festival. Those trips Feb. 19, 20, 21, 2021
Buena Vista Audubon will sponsor five trips offshore starting in May dates have not yet been announced. Watch for those at www.sandiegopelagics.com
Searcher Natural History Tours has a three day May 28-31 (new) and a five day trip Sept. 6-10. These trips are deluxe and a must for someone wishing to get a large slice of the possible So.Cal. pelagics species.
These trips often fill fast. see www.bajawhale.com and scroll down to Birding Tours fo details.
The Red-footed Booby continues at the San Diego Bay bait barge. 1-2-21
We looked for and missed the Red-necked Grebe off Shelter Is. 1-2-21, it was present on 12-19-20
An unrelated note from last week was the sighting of a Harris's Hawk at Hwy 94 and Honey Springs rd. That on 12-30-20. The bird was wearing bands and jesses (sp?), so is an escaped falconer's bird.