Shearwater Journeys’ trips departing from Monterey Bay, August 4th and Sausalito to the Farallon Islands, August 6th, encountered extraordinary numbers and variety of seabirds and marine mammals. And, yes, “it’s all about food”— my favorite saying. Monterey Bay is teaming with bait fish and some krill. The area surrounding the Farallon Islands, out to the edge of the Continental Shelf was floor to ceiling in krill. The marine life associated with the prey items was divided accordingly! Both trips enjoyed flat, calm seas with visibility up to 10 miles.
Highlights of our August 4 Monterey Bay pelagic trip included: BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS (8, excellent views), SOOTY (30,000+) and, PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS (34), ASHY STORM-PETREL (2, distant views), RED-NECKED (121) and RED (19) PHALAROPES, LONG-TAILED JAEGER (1, distant view), SABINE’S GULL (including 2 early juveniles, sitting on the water, excellent views), COMMON MURRE (1,025, many dads with chicks), and RHINOCEROS AUKLETS (62, good views). All birds were in Monterey County.
Marine mammals included: BLUE (2), FIN (1), HUMPBACK (12) WHALES; RISSO’S (30) and PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED (100) DOLPHINS, DALL’S PORPOISE ( 8, bow-riding on the head of a blue whale). Other highlights included: MAKO (1, excellent views) and BLUE (4, great views) SHARKS. We retrieved 6 mylar balloons, but could not pick up the floating refrigerator (future potential booby habitat!)
Highlights of our August 6 Farallon Islands pelagic trip included: MASKED (thought to be a sub-adult, hundreds of images), BLUE-FOOTED (1 on Sugar Loaf), and BROWN (1 sitting next to the Blue-footed) BOOBIES , BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS (2); NORTHERN FULMAR (1), SOOTY (10) and PINK-FOOTED (24) SHEARWATERS; RED-NECKED PHALAROPE (2700), and TUFTED PUFFIN (25), CASSIN’S (7000) and RHINOCEROS (10) AUKLETS, COMMON MURRE (18,000). Most birds were in San Francisco County, including the Masked Booby. We looked for the Parakeet Auklet, but did not find it. The Masked Booby flew across our bow shortly after leaving that location. Our excellent captain chased the booby and we had a chance to see it plunge-diving. Hundreds of images were made. A Common Murre was very vocal about this booby’s presence!
Marine mammals included: GRAY (2), BLUE (4) and HUMPBACK (44) WHALES, HARBOR PORPOISE. We stopped the boat and were surrounded by tail-slapping, head-slapping and breaching humpback whales for 360 degrees. The fish finder showed krill from top to bottom along the shelf break. The albatrosses, shearwaters and fulmar flew in while we were sitting around taking photographs. The rather tattered fulmar swam right up to the gunwales. It was a magical marine scene that few will ever encounter. The weather was so good that we headed up to the north islands of the Farallon Island group— something I’ve only done once before.
Spaces are available on the following trips: (leaders may be added to many of these trips)
Aug 25 with Alex Rinkert, Jim Holmes, Debi Shearwater
Sep 1 with Nick Levendosky, Mary Gustafson, Debi Shearwater
Sep 7 with Nick Levendosky, Alex Rinkert, Jim Holmes, Mary Gustafson, Debi Shearwater
Sep 8 with Mary Gustafson, Jim Holmes, Debi Shearwater
Sep 10 with Mary Gustafson, Debi Shearwater
Sep 14 with Debi Shearwater, TBA
Sep 22 with Christian Schwarz, Hannah Nevins, Debi Shearwater
Sep 23 with Nick Levendosky, Alex Rinkert, Jim Holmes, Steve Tucker, Debi Shearwater
Sep 24 with Nick Levendosky, Jim Holmes, Debi Shearwater
Sep 30 with Nick Levendosky, Alex Rinkert, Scott & Linda Terrill
Oct 8 with Nick Levendosky, Alex Rinkert, Scott & Linda Terrill
HALF MOON BAY:
Sep 2 with Mary Gustafson, Debi Shearwater
Sep 3 with Peter Pyle, Steve Tucker, Mary Gustafson, Debi Shearwater
Sep 15 with Christian Schwarz, Dave Pereksta, Debi Shearwater
Sep 16 with Steve Hampton, Debi Shearwater
Oct 7 with Nick Levendosky, Alex Rinkert, Steve Hampton
Many thanks to the wonderful folks, birders and birders-to-be, who joined us on these two fine pelagic trips. The leaders on August 4 included: Nick Levendosky, Abe Borker, Scott Terrill, Will Brooks, John Garrett, Debi Shearwater. The leaders on August 6 included: Gerry McChesney, Alex Rinkert, Christian Schwarz, John Garrett, Will Brooks, and Debi Shearwater.
It IS all about food!
Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
PO Box 190
Hollister, CA 95024
Celebrating 42 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater Journeys