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 Sep, 2008 - 11 e-mail(s)...
 Sep, 2007 - 10 e-mail(s)...
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 Apr, 2016 - 5 e-mail(s)...
 Sep, 2009 - 4 e-mail(s)...




   Ashy Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma homochroa) - ASSP (recent eBird sightings, view CBRC records, range map
)

  1. Cruise ship pelagic birds from April 9 and 10 LINK
    DATE: Apr 13, 2018 @ 5:17pm, 2 month(s) ago
    Leonie Batkin and I did a Holland America Line cruise from San Diego to Vancouver.
    
    The number of birds and diversity were at the low endthrough-out California.
    
    All species were noted, but below are justthe highlights.
    
    April 9
    
    Santa Barbara County
    Cook's Petrel ( 3 )
    
    San Luis Obispo County
    Laysan Albatross ( 1 )
    
    Monterey County
    Laysan Albatross ( 1 )
    Cook's Petrel (2 )
    Sabine's Gull ( 6 )
    
    San Mateo County
    Laysan Albatross ( 1 )
    Cook's Petrel ( 1 )
    Ashy Storm-Petrel ( 1 )
    Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel ( 1 )
    Sabine's Gull ( 1 )
    
    San Francisco County
    Laysan Albatross ( 1 )
    Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel ( 2 )
    
    April 10
    
    Del Norte County
    Leach's Storm-Petrel ( 500 )
    
    Wenoted noMurphy's Petrelsuntil crossing into Oregon waters.
    
    Ron Thorn
    Redwood City, California
    
    
  2. -back to top-
  3. JOUANIN'S PETREL: A FIRST RECORD FOR NORTH AMERICA LINK
    DATE: Apr 11, 2018 @ 9:05pm, 2 month(s) ago
    Howdy, CalBirders,
    
    JOUANIN’S PETREL: FIRST NORTH AMERICAN RECORD:
    
    Today I learned that the “mystery” petrel briefly observed and photographed during the Saturday, September 12, 2015 Shearwater Journeys’ offshore albacore trip has been accepted by the California Bird Records Committee as a JOUANIN’S PETREL ( Bulweria fallax ). This record represents the first accepted record of this north-west Indian Ocean seabird for North America.
    
    This was a sold out trip accompanied by leaders: Scott Terrill, Linda Terrill, Alex Rinkert, Mary Gustafson, Rick Fournier, and Debi Shearwater. In addition, Will Brooks (a leader) was on board as a “regular” along with his father, Jim Brooks. Expert seabirder, Fabio Olmos from Brazil was on board, along with many keen local and out-of-state seabirders: Cooper Scallan, Doug Koch, Bryan Hix, Paul Fenwick, Chris Hartzell, Hillary White, Peder Svingen, Peter Haines, and others. Our captain this day was John Klusmire whose experience with Debi dates back to the mid-1980’s.
    
    Ace leader, Alex Rinkert, first spotted the petrel and called it a “Bulwer’s Petrel” from the stern of the boat which was a pretty darned good call. As the petrel circled the vessel toward the bow, Scott Terrill and I had a view as it crossed to the other side. However, having seen quite a few Bulwer’s Petrels (including the first record for North America on another of our Monterey Bay trips some years ago), I was immediately convinced that this bird was not a Bulwer’s Petrel, based on size alone. The sighting was in Santa Cruz County, based on using “nearest point of land” and at a depth of only 200 fathoms. This species occurs in shallow waters within its normal range.
    
    It should be noted that an extremely warm water “river” occurred along the north coast, off Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay during this period. The presence of warm water by itself was not so much a factor, as the fact that it smashed into a front of significantly cold water. It was this frontal zone that produced the food for seabirds. (It’s all about food.) Indeed, only 3 days later, we found a WHITE-CHINNED PETREL on our September 15, 2015 Half Moon Bay trip. That petrel flew in and sat on the water for 45 minutes— birders seemed to become bored with it!
    
    Much discussion ensued following the sighting of the September 12 petrel. Eventually, Scott Terrill and I put together all of the details we could muster— including many (not-so-great) photos which became known as “the petrel package.” This was circulated to some of the top world seabirders. David Ainley, Peter Harrison and Hadoram Shirihai responded independently and immediately that they judged the petrel to be a JOUANIN’S PETREL!
    
    Finally, the package went to the CBRC and they made a concurring diagnosis. Of course, any first record for North America requires a laborious vetting, but especially so with seabirds which often present the most fleeting of views.
    
    So, although we had a very good number of images, I would not particularly call any of them “great.” I will try to put up a post on my blog with some of these images. I will post about that when it becomes available.
    
    Subsequent to our first record, nine months later (June 2016) a petrel captured during mist netting at Santa Cruz Island (southern California) was identified as a Jouanin’s Petrel. It may or may not have been the same individual we saw in September 2015.
    
    Jouanin’s Petrel occurs widely offshore in the Arabian Sea and Gulfs of Aden and Oman, where it is the commonest pelagic seabird. It has showed up as a vagrant off Australia, Kenya, Seychelles, Saudi Arabia, and other places. BirdLife lists this species as Near Threatened. There are about 4 records for Hawaii.
    
    If you’d like to read an interesting and fun tale about Jouanin’s Petrels, I recommend this article by my friend, Bob Flood:
    http://www.rarebirdalert.co.uk/v2/Content/Scilly_Pelagics_Jouanins_Petrels.aspxs_id=746315633
    
    HISTORY OF OFFSHORE MONTEREY ALBACORE TRIPS:
    
    The “albacore, offshore Monterey” pelagic trip was invented by Debi Shearwater back in 1983. During the 1980’s albacore, a type of tuna, regularly occurred off Monterey Bay. Reports from fishermen of incredible seabird activity prompted me to begin offering these 12 hour trips. The purpose of this trip was to present a wholistic approach to enjoying marine life. To that end, we endeavored to search for key seabirds, including Craveri’s, Scripps’s, and Guadalupe Murrelets; blue and Baird’s Beaked whales; and to catch albacore, the “cadillac” of the tunas. We never dreamed these trips would turn out to produce so many incredible seabird records. Even though the albacore changed their migration pattern and rarely occur off Monterey nowadays, we continue to operate albacore trips. These trips always sell out in advance.
    
    Other rare, or very uncommon seabirds we have discovered on Shearwater Journeys’ past albacore trips have included: Laysan Albatross; Cook’s and Hawaiian Petrels; Streaked, Flesh-footed, Greater, and Manx Shearwaters; Least and Leach’s Storm-Petrels; Red-billed and Red-tailed Tropicbirds; Brown Booby; Craveri’s, Scripps’s, and Guadalupe Murrelets. This is a spectacular trip for jaegers, often encountering over 100 in one day! We almost always have a “grand slam” on Pomarine, Parasitic, and Long-tailed Jaegers, Long-tailed being the most commonly sighted. It is the single best trip to see South Polar Skua.
    
    Our September 9, 2017 Albacore trip indeed found all of the jaegers, South Polar Skua; Guadalupe, Scripps’s, and Craveri’s Murrelets, and many of the “regular” fall species. Northern Waterthrush and American Redstart were “bonus” birds.
    
    OUR UPCOMING ALBACORE: OFFSHORE MONTEREY TRIPS:
    SUN. SEP. 9
    SAT. SEP. 15
    
    See our complete schedule for 2018:
    http://www.shearwaterjourneys.com/schedule.html
    
    Past trip reports:
    Oct. 6, 2001 with STREAKED SHEARWATER and Black-throated Gray Warbler:
    http://www.shearwaterjourneys.com/ag011006.html
    Sep. 15, 2002 with 42 LONG-TAILED JAEGERS and murrelets:
    http://www.shearwaterjourneys.com/020913.html
    Sep. 10, 2006 with ten FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATERS and 1500+ Buller’s Shearwaters:
    http://www.shearwaterjourneys.com/ag060910.htm
    Sep. 13, 2008 with 7000 ASHY STORM-PETRELS:
    http://shearwaterjourneys.blogspot.com/2008/09/shearwater-birthday-birding-sep-13-2008.html
    Sep. 12, 2009 with 24 COOK’S PETRELS and one HAWAIIAN PETREL:
    http://shearwaterjourneys.blogspot.com/2009/09/trip-report-sep-12-2009-monterey.html
    
    I gratefully thank all of the leaders and especially, the participants from near and far —representing 14 different states in the USA and Canada and Brazil. Without you , the participants, we have nothing. Special thanks to the many photographers on board who sent their images, and to the reviewers who worked on this amazing record.
    
    Now check that box!
    What’s next
    Still discovering first North American records after 40 years of trips!
    Debi Shearwater
    
    DEBRA SHEARWATER
    Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
    PO Box 190
    Hollister, CA 95024
    831.637.8527
    debi@...
    www.shearwaterjourneys.com
    www.shearwaterjourneys.blogspot.com
    
    Celebrating 43 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater Journeys
  4. -back to top-
  5. JOUANIN'S PETREL: A FIRST RECORD FOR NORTH AMERICA LINK
    DATE: Apr 11, 2018 @ 9:04pm, 2 month(s) ago
    Howdy, CalBirders,
    
    JOUANIN’S PETREL: FIRST NORTH AMERICAN RECORD:
    
    Today I learned that the “mystery” petrel briefly observed and photographed during the Saturday, September 12, 2015 Shearwater Journeys’ offshore albacore trip has been accepted by the California Bird Records Committee as a JOUANIN’S PETREL ( Bulweria fallax ). This record represents the first accepted record of this north-west Indian Ocean seabird for North America.
    
    This was a sold out trip accompanied by leaders: Scott Terrill, Linda Terrill, Alex Rinkert, Mary Gustafson, Rick Fournier, and Debi Shearwater. In addition, Will Brooks (a leader) was on board as a “regular” along with his father, Jim Brooks. Expert seabirder, Fabio Olmos from Brazil was on board, along with many keen local and out-of-state seabirders: Cooper Scallan, Doug Koch, Bryan Hix, Paul Fenwick, Chris Hartzell, Hillary White, Peder Svingen, Peter Haines, and others. Our captain this day was John Klusmire whose experience with Debi dates back to the mid-1980’s.
    
    Ace leader, Alex Rinkert, first spotted the petrel and called it a “Bulwer’s Petrel” from the stern of the boat which was a pretty darned good call. As the petrel circled the vessel toward the bow, Scott Terrill and I had a view as it crossed to the other side. However, having seen quite a few Bulwer’s Petrels (including the first record for North America on another of our Monterey Bay trips some years ago), I was immediately convinced that this bird was not a Bulwer’s Petrel, based on size alone. The sighting was in Santa Cruz County, based on using “nearest point of land” and at a depth of only 200 fathoms. This species occurs in shallow waters within its normal range.
    
    It should be noted that an extremely warm water “river” occurred along the north coast, off Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay during this period. The presence of warm water by itself was not so much a factor, as the fact that it smashed into a front of significantly cold water. It was this frontal zone that produced the food for seabirds. (It’s all about food.) Indeed, only 3 days later, we found a WHITE-CHINNED PETREL on our September 15, 2015 Half Moon Bay trip. That petrel flew in and sat on the water for 45 minutes— birders seemed to become bored with it!
    
    Much discussion ensued following the sighting of the September 12 petrel. Eventually, Scott Terrill and I put together all of the details we could muster— including many (not-so-great) photos which became known as “the petrel package.” This was circulated to some of the top world seabirders. David Ainley, Peter Harrison and Hadoram Shirihai responded independently and immediately that they judged the petrel to be a JOUANIN’S PETREL!
    
    Finally, the package went to the CBRC and they made a concurring diagnosis. Of course, any first record for North America requires a laborious vetting, but especially so with seabirds which often present the most fleeting of views.
    
    So, although we had a very good number of images, I would not particularly call any of them “great.” I will try to put up a post on my blog with some of these images. I will post about that when it becomes available.
    
    Subsequent to our first record, nine months later (June 2016) a petrel captured during mist netting at Santa Cruz Island (southern California) was identified as a Jouanin’s Petrel. It may or may not have been the same individual we saw in September 2015.
    
    Jouanin’s Petrel occurs widely offshore in the Arabian Sea and Gulfs of Aden and Oman, where it is the commonest pelagic seabird. It has showed up as a vagrant off Australia, Kenya, Seychelles, Saudi Arabia, and other places. BirdLife lists this species as Near Threatened. There are about 4 records for Hawaii.
    
    If you’d like to read an interesting and fun tale about Jouanin’s Petrels, I recommend this article by my friend, Bob Flood:
    http://www.rarebirdalert.co.uk/v2/Content/Scilly_Pelagics_Jouanins_Petrels.aspxs_id=746315633
    
    HISTORY OF OFFSHORE MONTEREY ALBACORE TRIPS:
    
    The “albacore, offshore Monterey” pelagic trip was invented by Debi Shearwater back in 1983. During the 1980’s albacore, a type of tuna, regularly occurred off Monterey Bay. Reports from fishermen of incredible seabird activity prompted me to begin offering these 12 hour trips. The purpose of this trip was to present a wholistic approach to enjoying marine life. To that end, we endeavored to search for key seabirds, including Craveri’s, Scripps’s, and Guadalupe Murrelets; blue and Baird’s Beaked whales; and to catch albacore, the “cadillac” of the tunas. We never dreamed these trips would turn out to produce so many incredible seabird records. Even though the albacore changed their migration pattern and rarely occur off Monterey nowadays, we continue to operate albacore trips. These trips always sell out in advance.
    
    Other rare, or very uncommon seabirds we have discovered on Shearwater Journeys’ past albacore trips have included: Laysan Albatross; Cook’s and Hawaiian Petrels; Streaked, Flesh-footed, Greater, and Manx Shearwaters; Least and Leach’s Storm-Petrels; Red-billed and Red-tailed Tropicbirds; Brown Booby; Craveri’s, Scripps’s, and Guadalupe Murrelets. This is a spectacular trip for jaegers, often encountering over 100 in one day! We almost always have a “grand slam” on Pomarine, Parasitic, and Long-tailed Jaegers, Long-tailed being the most commonly sighted. It is the single best trip to see South Polar Skua.
    
    Our September 9, 2017 Albacore trip indeed found all of the jaegers, South Polar Skua; Guadalupe, Scripps’s, and Craveri’s Murrelets, and many of the “regular” fall species. Northern Waterthrush and American Redstart were “bonus” birds.
    
    OUR UPCOMING ALBACORE: OFFSHORE MONTEREY TRIPS:
    SUN. SEP. 9
    SAT. SEP. 15
    
    See our complete schedule for 2018:
    http://www.shearwaterjourneys.com/schedule.html
    
    Past trip reports:
    Oct. 6, 2001 with STREAKED SHEARWATER and Black-throated Gray Warbler:
    http://www.shearwaterjourneys.com/ag011006.html
    Sep. 15, 2002 with 42 LONG-TAILED JAEGERS and murrelets:
    http://www.shearwaterjourneys.com/020913.html
    Sep. 10, 2006 with ten FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATERS and 1500+ Buller’s Shearwaters:
    http://www.shearwaterjourneys.com/ag060910.htm
    Sep. 13, 2008 with 7000 ASHY STORM-PETRELS:
    http://shearwaterjourneys.blogspot.com/2008/09/shearwater-birthday-birding-sep-13-2008.html
    Sep. 12, 2009 with 24 COOK’S PETRELS and one HAWAIIAN PETREL:
    http://shearwaterjourneys.blogspot.com/2009/09/trip-report-sep-12-2009-monterey.html
    
    I gratefully thank all of the leaders and especially, the participants from near and far —representing 14 different states in the USA and Canada and Brazil. Without you , the participants, we have nothing. Special thanks to the many photographers on board who sent their images, and to the reviewers who worked on this amazing record.
    
    Now check that box!
    What’s next
    Still discovering first North American records after 40 years of trips!
    Debi Shearwater
    
    DEBRA SHEARWATER
    Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
    PO Box 190
    Hollister, CA 95024
    831.637.8527
    debi@...
    www.shearwaterjourneys.com
    www.shearwaterjourneys.blogspot.com
    
    Celebrating 43 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater Journeys
  6. -back to top-
  7. an epic cruise-ship day: 5 Short-tld Albatrosses, 91 Mottled Petrels, 4 Cook's, 18 Laysans LINK
    DATE: Dec 1, 2017 @ 5:20pm, 7 month(s) ago
    A slow Nov 30th off California (MTY to SON) aboard a northbound Princess
    
    cruise-ship from Los Angeles to Vancouver was highlighted by a mere 2
    
    LAYSAN Albatrosses, 3 Buller's Shearwaters, lots of fulmars, and single
    
    Fork-tailed, Leach's, and Ashy Storm-petrels. But Dec 1st, spent
    
    entirely off the Oregon coast from northern Curry Co. to the WA border
    
    was phenomenal, with 5 SHORT-TAILED ALBATROSSES (off Curry and Coos and
    
    Lincoln Cos.)--all young birds and 3 together associated with a single
    
    fishing boat, where many photos taken; a total of 91 MOTTLED PETRELS
    
    (from off Newport northwards), with many birds at point-blank distance
    
    from the ship and a bazzilion photos taken (and some people had even
    
    higher counts), with the last couple birds before dark being seen just
    
    inside Washington waters; at least 4 COOK'S PETRELS, very rare in OR
    
    waters and occurring well north up the coast as far as off Tillamook
    
    Co.; a very high count of 18 LAYSAN ALBATROSSES (including a single
    
    flock of 7 and flock of 5); and 2 BULLER'S SHEARWATERS (getting late).
    
    If anyone is interested in trying for some of these birds, the same
    
    Princess ship ("Star Princess")  is returning southbound from Vancouver
    
    to L.A. two weeks from now. Maybe some of them will have shifted south
    
    into CA waters by then.....
    
    --Paul Lehman
  8. -back to top-
  9. 10/15 Monterey Seabirds Trip Report + our last pelagic is tomorrow. LINK
    DATE: Oct 15, 2017 @ 4:49pm, 8 month(s) ago
    All,   Monterey Seabirds went out on a fantastic pelagic today.  It was a wonderfully diverse trip. Today we stayed in Monterey County water the entire time.  Here's a list of some highlights:
    COMMON LOON (about 15 miles offshore)
    PACIFIC LOON
    RED THROATED LOON
    ASHY STORM-PETREL
    BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS
    BULLER'S SHEARWATER
    BLACK-VENTED SHEARWATER (they're back! They were in a month ago but not since.)
    SOOTY SHEARWATER
    PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER
    NORTHERN FULMAR
    MARBLED GODWIT (offshore about 8 mile)
    RED-NECKED PHALAROPE
    BONAPARTE'S GULL (first of the season for me)
    POMARINE JAEGER
    PARASITIC JAEGER
    SOUTH POLAR SKUA (6)!!!
    RHINOCEROS AUKLET
    CASSIN'S AUKLET
    TUFTED PUFFIN
    HUMPBACK WHALE (20)
    FIN WHALE  (2)
    PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHIN
    MOLA MOLA
    BLUE SHARK (3)
    
    Any day with a TUFTED PUFFIN is a good day.  Also, six SOUTH POLAR SKUA were a real delight for folks.
    
    It's not to late to join us tomorrow on our 12-hour trip!  We will be going farther offshore (30+ miles) where there is currently a big temperature break.  We'd love to have you.
    
    Vist montereyseabirds.com or call (831)375-4658
    or
    Feel free to show up at the dock in the morning if you get this after business hours.  We depart at 7:30 from the Monterey Bay Whale Watch shop on Fisherman's Wharf.
    
    Good Birding,
    Mark Kudrav
    Monterey Seabirds
    Pacific Grove
  10. -back to top-
  11. 10/11--Pt. Pinos Seawatch/Monterey Seabirds Pelagics/BOBOLINKS (2)-Carmel Valley LINK
    DATE: Oct 11, 2017 @ 3:06pm, 8 month(s) ago
    All,    This morning a gentle NW wind brought decent birds to the Point Pinos Seawatch.  Brian Sullivan was also there.
      Some nice birds included:
    BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS (2)
    BLACK-VENTED SHEARWATERS, PINK-FOOTED, BULLER'S, SOOTY SHEARWATERS
    Brian called out one SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER, though I didn't get a diagnostic look myself.
    PARASITIC and POMARINE JAEGER
    CASSIN'S AUKLETS
    COMMON LOON (5)
      A previously reported female LESSER SCAUP and two CACKLING GEESE were on Crespi Pond.
     Two BOBOLINKS were found yesterday on the South Bank Trail in Carmel Valley, I believe by Carol Rose. Sorry if I got that wrong.  One was reported this morning.  I missed them today after two hours of searching. Also there today were a SWAMP SPARROW, NASHVILLE WARBLERS, and two PALM WABLERS.
    eBird reports have location details but they were in the weedy field adjacent to the main grassy field.  A long fence splits the fields. 
    
    Lastly, MONTEREY SEABIRDS has our last two pelagic birding trips coming up. Sunday Oct. 15- 8-hr
    Monday Oct. 16- 12-hr
    
    The long range weather is looking good for those trips.  We hope to get fairly far offshore on the 12-hour trip.  It should be a blast.  
    
    We'd like to fill both trips, so we're offering a great deal.  If you book both trips, we'll give you 50% off on the 12-hour trip . That makes that trip just $80 dollars!
    
    Call (831) 375-4658 or visit montereyseabirds.com to make a reservation.
    
    I failed to do a trip report of our last trip on Oct. 1 but we did find a SOUTH POLAR SKUA, hundreds of BULLER'S SHEARWATERS, a few ASHY STORM-PETRELS, 3 COMMIC TERNS and a pair of black and white MURRELET Spp.
    
    Looking forward to a strong NW wind the next couple of days (including overnight) .  It should make for some great seawatching at the point. 
    
    Good Birding, 
    
    Mark Kudrav
    Pacific Grove
    Monterey Seabirds- montereyseabirds.com
  12. -back to top-
  13. 9/30 Monterey Seabirds Pelagic-Flesh-footed Shearwaters and more LINK
    DATE: Sep 30, 2017, 9 month(s) ago
    All,    Monterey Seabirds had a fantastic pelagic out of Monterey today.  The trip took a Sacramento Audubon charter out through both Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties today 9/30. 
      Spotters Dorian Anderson, Fred Hochstaedter, Peter Metropolis, and Francis Toldi put in an incredible day's work and cannot be thanked enough.
      Oddly, our only COMMON TERN was spotted by Fred before we even got on the boat in Monterey Harbor.  Upon boarding, we tracked it down for a few extra looks. 
      PINK-FOOTED, SOOTY and BULLER'S SHEARWATERS occurred today in both Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties.  I haven't yet finished eBirding our totals, but the BULLER'S SHEARWATER total was probably near a couple hundred, many of which were in Santa Cruz or very near the county line. 
      Upon arrival into Santa Cruz Co., there was a great frenzy of feeding marine animals of all kinds.  Sorting through one group of about a dozen HUMPBACKS and sea lions, Fred called a great bird, "FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER!"  Our captain motored off and we chased it for a while until we caught up with it resting on the water.  At that point, it became a bit unclear whether there were two birds or just one.  At any rate, another FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER was seen miles north of that location in the vicinity of some BLUE WHALES.  Confidently, we can say we had two, though some folks may have had a third.  I believe some reasonable photos of the Flesh-footeds were obtained and will post them soon.
      Before leave Santa Cruz Co. , Dorian spotted a TUFTED PUFFIN sitting on the water. 
      Upon returning into Monterey Co., Peter spotted the first ASHY STORM-PETRELS and we turned up about ten more as we motored back towards Monterey.
      Jaegers also made for a good show.  We had both POMARINE and PARASITIC in both counties. Additionally, one LONG-TAILED JAEGER buzzed by the boat at very close range in Monterey Co.
      Additionally, NORTHERN FULMAR, BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS, RHINOCEROS AUKLET(good numbers in MTY), CASSIN'S AUKLET(marked increase since our previous trips), and RED-NECKED PHALAROPE were encountered in both Monterey and Santa Cruz Co.  Another bird that showed up in both counties was COMMON LOON, a few of which were fairly far offshore. 
      Finally, seen during the trip were a BLUE SHARK, RISSO'S DOLPHNS, DAHL'S PORPOISES and a single MOLA MOLA.  
      
      Thanks again to all the spotters and to Sacramento Audubon for bringing such a great group. 
    
      We've got just a few more trips going out this season including one tomorrow OCT.1  that still has some space.  
      Our last trips are running Oct. 15 (8 hour) and Oct. 16 (12 hour).  If you want to join, call (831) 375-4658 or visit montereyseabirds.com
      I'll post photos on the eBird lists and at our facebook page very soon.
    https://www.facebook.com/montereyseabirdtours/
    
    Can't wait to do it again tomorrow. 
    
    Good Birding,
    
    Mark Kudrav
    Monterey Seabirds
    Pacific Grove
  14. -back to top-
  15. SEP 24 PELAGIC REPORT LINK
    DATE: Sep 26, 2017 @ 10:23am, 9 month(s) ago
    Howdy, CalBird’ers,
    
    Birders on Shearwater Journeys’ September 24 Monterey Bay pelagic trip had another fine day at sea. Highlights included great views of BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS; PINK-FOOTED, FLESH-FOOTED, BULLER’S and SOOTY SHEARWATERS. TwoBLACK-VENTED SHEARWATERS made a fast pass on return to the harbor. The Flesh-footed Shearwater gave a great show at the stern of the vessel. Photographic images were made with three species of shearwaters in flight in one frame!
    
    One SOUTH POLAR SKUA and a fair number of POMARINE and PARASITIC JAEAGERS were harassing gulls or terns. A few more CASSIN’S AUKLETS had arrived, as compared to the September 22 trip. There seems to be krill deep in the water column. It if moves closer to the surface, these early buggers will be right on top of it! Three TUFTED PUFFINS were a good find.
    
    Two SURFBIRDS were along the CG jetty along with the usual BLACK TURNSTONES. A small pod of BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS were just off Lover’s Point beach.
    
    BLUE and HUMPBACK WHALES continue to feed in the bay.RISSO’S and LONG-BEAKED COMMON DOLPHINS were milling about.
    
    Seabirds were recorded in both Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties. This is the at least the second record of Flesh-footed Shearwater in Santa Cruz County this season.
    
    Upcoming trips with spaces available include:
    
    *SEP 30with Alex Rinkert, Nick Levendosky, Scott & Linda Terrill, Clay Kempf
    OCT 8 with Alex Rinkert, Nick Levendosky, Clay Kempf, Scott & Linda Terrill
    
    Spaces are available on both trips. We meet at 7 a.m. and return about 3 p.m. For reservations email me: debi@...
    
    *PLEASE NOTE: SEP 30th is our annual SANTA CRUZ COUNTY pelagic trip!We’ve already seen some great SCZ County seabirds: FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER, SOUTH POLAR SKUA, SABINE’S GULL, ASHY STORM-PETREL, GUADALUPE, CRAVERI’S and SCRIPPS’S MURRELETS, and NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH and AMERICAN REDSTART! This trip is $105 and is a regular trip from 7 am to 3 pm.
    
    Living the Salt Life and heading for Tropical Birds!
    Debi Shearwater
    
    DEBRA SHEARWATER
    Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
    PO Box 190
    Hollister, CA 95024
    831.637.8527
    debi@...
    www.shearwaterjourneys.com
    www.shearwaterjourneys.blogspot.com
    
    Celebrating 42 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater Journeys
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  17. Pelagic trip out of Ventura with Island Packers on 7 Oct 2017 LINK
    DATE: Sep 25, 2017 @ 1:30pm, 9 month(s) ago
    Hi All
    
    This
    is a reminder that Island Packers is offering an 11-hour deepwater
    pelagic trip from the Ventura Harbor at 7 am on Saturday October 7. This
    trip will allow us to get to offshore waters beyond the reach of most
    day trips where we will
    have a chance to see a number of outstanding pelagic birds and marine
    mammals. The waters around the northern
    Channel Islands can be very productive during the fall when hundreds
    (sometimes thousands) of shearwaters crowd into the inter-island gaps. We will be looking through flocks of Black-vented,
    Pink-footed, and Sooty Shearwaters for Buller's, Flesh-footed (uncommon),
    and Manx (rare) Shearwaters. This is peak season for seabird diversity
    so in addition to the species already mentioned, Black-footed Albatross,
    Black and Ashy Storm-Petrels, Cassin's and Rhinoceros Auklets, and
    Pomarine and Long-tailed Jaegers are all possible. It is a good time of
    year for South Polar Skua, Sabine's Gull, and Arctic Tern. Recent trips
    near the islands have found Blue-footed Booby (2013-2014, 2016) and Brown
    Booby (2013-2017). There is also a potential for sought-after species
    like Cooks' Petrel, Red-billed Tropicbird, Least Storm-Petrel, Townsend's Storm-Petrel, Guadalupe Murrelet, and
    Craveri's Murrelet. The last 4 years have been exceptional for Craveri's
    Murrelet off southern California and with warm water continuing, our chances to find this elusive species may be good. We saw approximately 45 Craveri's Murrelets on our recent July trip from Ventura! In addition, there was a Nazca Booby seen on a pelagic trip out of San Diego this weekend so anything is possible out there. We
    will decide what our offshore destinations will be after reviewing
    oceanographic conditions at the time of the trip, which will help
    determine where birds and other marine life may be present.
    
    The trip will be on an ultra-fast catamaran that features a
    spacious and comfortable cabin, galley, and excellent viewing from
    both the upper and lower decks. A full contingent of outstanding seabird
    leaders will be present to make sure we see all that is out there. The
    Captain and crew know how to run birding trips and are enthusiastic
    and helpful.In addition, we work hard to creep up on birds and get
    them in the right light for photographers.
    
    Trips can be booked over the phone by calling (805) 642-1393 or online at www.IslandPackers.comby
    clicking the Reserve Trip tab, select the Special Trips tab, and select
    your desired departure. The cost of the trip is $170 per adult.
    
    Hope to see you at sea!
    
    Dave Pereksta
    Ventura, CA
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  19. The Pelagic Season Continues LINK
    DATE: Sep 20, 2017 @ 4:25pm, 9 month(s) ago
    Howdy, Birders,
    
    Shearwater Journeys had pelagic trips from Monterey on September 14 and Half Moon Bay on September 15 and 16th with some spectacular feeding frenzies, especially on September 15th.
    
    In total, for these three trips, we saw: 11species of tubenoses; all three jaegers and South polar skua; 6 species of alcids; and almost 300 whales (blue, fin, and humpback).
    
    Our upcoming trips from Monterey include:
    
    SEP 22 with Christian Schwarz, Hannah Nevins, Dave Pereksta, Clay Kempf, Debi Shearwater
    SEP 24 with Jim Holmes, Nick Levendosky, Alex Rinkert, Scott & Linda Terrill, Debi Shearwater
    SEP 30 with Alex Rinkert, Nick Levendosky, Scott & Linda Terrill, Clay Kempf
    OCT 8 with Alex Rinkert, Nick Levendosky, Clay Kempf, Scott & Linda Terrill
    
    Spaces are available on all trips. We meet at 7 a.m. and return about 3 p.m. For reservations email me: debi@...
    
    On September 15, upwards of 80 HUMPBACK WHALES, 500 California sea lions and PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS numbering close to 10,000 and about 350 BULLER’S SHEARWATERS were feeding on giant balls and walls of anchovies. It was a dizzying amount of marine life. Amongst all of the pandemonium, Peter Pyle spotted what he thought was a GREAT SHEARWATER. I saw this shearwater while it was still sitting on the water. Later, when Peter was reviewing his images, he found a MANX SHEARWATER in several images. We also spotted 1 WILSON’S, 2 FORK-TAILED, and 4 ASHY STORM-PETRELS. Also, offshore, we encountered BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS, NORTHERN FULMAR, RHINOCEROS AUKLETS, ALL THREE JAEGERS, and SOUTH POLAR SKUA, along with 175 PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHINS, and 2 NORTHERN RIGHT WHALE DOLPINS. Over 100,000 SOOTY SHEARWATERS were feeding in the nearshore area. One MARBLED MURRELET was also near shore. A solitary TUFTED PUFFIN was sighted on the way home.
    
    Our trip on September 16th was similar, although many of the offshore flocks had moved on and both BLUE and FIN WHALES had moved in with the HUMPBACK WHALES. Seabirds were similar, except that many more CASSIN’S AUKLETS had moved into the area. Far offshore, a GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE circled the vessel (photographed). This represents a new addition to the over 100 species of non-pelagic birds I have seen on pelagic trips! Again, we saw all three species of jaegers. Nearshore, we encountered a dozen BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS, many with calves.
    
    We do have upcoming trips, all with spaces available. Please see our web site: www.shearwaterjourneys.comfor more information.
    
    Living the Salt Life,
    Debi Shearwater
    
    DEBRA SHEARWATER
    Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
    PO Box 190
    Hollister, CA 95024
    831.637.8527
    debi@...
    www.shearwaterjourneys.com
    www.shearwaterjourneys.blogspot.com
    
    Celebrating 42 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater Journeys
  20. -back to top-
  21. Morro Bay pelagic trip - 14 October LINK
    DATE: Sep 20, 2017 @ 3:33pm, 9 month(s) ago
    Birders -
    
    There are still spaces available for the Morro Coast Audubon October 14 boat trip out of Morro Bay. Weather permitting, our goal will be to reach the Santa Lucia Bank.  It is crunch time for this trip in that if we do not get enough participants to sign up in the next few days we may need to cancel or risk losing our deposit.  Please email Mike Stiles at < mstiles@... > if you are interesting in going. Or if you have already contacted Mike, please mail back your information and check.
    The cost is $122 for an 8-hour trip out of Morro Bay, which is a pretty good value relative to most trips offshore. Species that we can expect on this trip are Pink-footed and Buller’s Shearwaters, Black-vented and Sooty Shearwaters, Parasitic and Pomarine Jaegers, Red and Red-necked Phalaropes, Cassin’s and Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murre, and Sabine’s Gull. Also a good possibility are both South Polar Skua and Flesh-footed Shearwater, and with luck, we may see Black-footed Albatross, Manx Shearwater, Ashy Storm-Petrel, Tufted Puffin, or even a Great Shearwater or something else totally unexpected.
    There are not many opportunities to take a fall pelagic trip off San Luis Obispo County, especially during October, so for those out there hoping for San Luis Obispo County birds, this trip will provide a good chance for new county birds. This trip is closer is comparatively inexpensive and we still have the ability to attract birds by chumming! Master chummer West Fritz will be attracting birds to the boat and one of the leaders . The other leaders will be Curtis Marantz, Peter Geade, and Tom Edell.
    Again, if you are interested, please email Mike Stiles at < mstiles@... > today !
    
    Tom Edell Cayucos, CA
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  23. Sensational Seabirding: Sep 15 LINK
    DATE: Sep 15, 2017 @ 8:57pm, 9 month(s) ago
    Howdy, Birders,
    
    Shearwater Journeys’ pelagic trip departing from Half Moon Bay today turned out to be very surprising and quite sensational with multiple mixed species feeding frenzies. We began the day with some tough seas and weather although it was entirely doable. By spending a lot of time along the jetties in the harbor area, we tallied the following rocky shorebird species: BLACK OYSTERCATCHER, RUDDY and BLACK TURNSTONES, SURFBIRD, WANDERING TATTLER, SANDERLING, and WHIMBREL. We observed 10 banded BROWN PELICANS.
    
    Just outside of the harbor, we found a feeding flock of about 90,000 SOOTY SHEARWATERS, as if this might be the “best” flock of the day— not! A flock of 450 COMMON MURRE dads with chicks were actively calling back and forth.One MARBLED MURRELET and 3 HARBOR PORPOISE were along the beach zone.
    
    We made our way slowly offshore toward the edge of the Continental Shelf break, crossing a barren zone of “dirty” green water. One of the first sightings was of three storm-petrels sitting on the sea: 2 ASHY STORM-PETRELS and 1 WILSON’S STORM-PETREL. Shortly afterward, a FORK-TAILED STORM-PETREL flew into the wake. We encountered many small flocks of RHINOCEROS AUKLETS, but only one CASSIN’S AUKLET for the entire day! Four BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES and 5 NORTHERN FULMARS were around, too.
    
    In the distance, we could see complete pandemonium — thousands of PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS, many HUMPBACK WHALES, a herd of 175 PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHINS with 2 NORTHERN RIGHT WHALE DOLPHINS in the mix. More humpbacks, and smaller flocks of BULLER’S SHEARWATERS were sitting on the sea. We estimated that at least 5000 Pink-footed Shearwaters were in view, some actively feeding and some sitting on the sea.
    
    Peter Pyle spotted a possible GREAT SHEARWATER in one such flock. I saw the Great Shearwater for a few seconds before it took flight with the flock. We would have preferred a much better view, but I’m certain (and not surprised) it was a Great Shearwater. To be honest, we simply had too many shearwaters to sift through. It was mind-boggling to be sure. I spotted another couple ASHY STORM-PETRELS and another FORK-TAILED STORM-PETREL was found. Two SOUTH POLAR SKUAS and POMARINE, PARASITIC and LONG-TAILED JAEGERS added to the mix. The only terns were COMMON/ARCTIC TERNS offshore.
    
    Heading for home, everyone relaxed and enjoyed the seas as it was laying down nicely. We thought we’d had a great day, but boy, were we in for a surprise! The best was yet to come— imagine the blows, tail flukes, backs and open mouths of some 46 more HUMPBACK WHALES, 500+ CALIFORNIA SEA LIONS, and 3275 more PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS gorging on anchovies! As many as 16 humpback blows were in the air at the same time. It was unnerving and sensational at all levels. The sea lions were driving the anchovies which we could see on the fish finder. The whales and shearwaters followed on the butts of the sea lions. For the first time in my life, I saw anchovy-green whale poo! We were surrounded by a biomass of marine life the likes of which few have ever witnessed.
    
    Finally, we carried on our way to the harbor, working on numbers for the checklists, and checking photos. So, we almost missed the TUFTED PUFFIN spotted by our first mate.
    
    Today, we recorded 7275 PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS which is the highest count I’ve had this season and in many years. About 250-300 BULLER’S SHEARWATERS were tallied, highest count for the season to date. We estimated some 76 HUMPBACK WHALES and over 1000 CALIFORNIA SEA LIONS were observed.
    
    To say it was a “great day” would be an understatement. Many, many thanks to the birders, both local and from far away, who joined us. Thanks to leaders Christian Schwarz and Peter Pyle and friends who helped out in many ways, Tom and Beth Hamel and Jim Chiropolos.
    
    We are heading out from Half Moon Bay again, tomorrow. A couple of spaces are available. We meet at 7 a.m. The marine forecast is for excellent seas and weather. We are hoping to spot more storm-petrels and murrelets tomorrow. It should be a good day for those species. And, we intend to catch an albacore!
    
    Living the Salt Life and SeaBirding for Science,
    Debi Shearwater
    
    DEBRA SHEARWATER
    Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
    PO Box 190
    Hollister, CA 95024
    831.637.8527
    debi@...
    www.shearwaterjourneys.com
    www.shearwaterjourneys.blogspot.com
    
    Celebrating 42 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater Journeys
  24. -back to top-
  25. SEP 9: MONTEREY, SANTA CRUZ, SAN MATEO PELAGIC BIRDS LINK
    DATE: Sep 12, 2017 @ 7:00pm, 9 month(s) ago
    Howdy, Birders,
    
    Shearwater Journeys’ September 9 Albacore Grounds, offshore from Monterey covered three counties: Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Mateo. I haven’t done this for a number of years. And, last time I ventured into San Mateo County on a Monterey albacore trip, I saw two Red-billed Tropicbirds. We didn’t find any tropicbirds, but we did find a number of murrelets. We had excellent sea conditions with a light swell, but good visibility.
    
    Below, I present the species list by counties. Murrelets and jaegers are our target species on this trip and we fared very well. We recorded 19 murrelets, in total and had excellent views of most of them. We recorded 26 LONG-TAILED JAEGERS which is low compared to previous years for this trip.
    
    Note that the only ARCTIC TERNS were in San Mateo County. Some cool birds in Santa Cruz County included: BULLER’S SHEARWATER; SOUTH POLAR SKUA; GUADALUPE, SCRIPPS’S and CRAVERI’S MURRELETS; NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH and AMERICAN REDSTART.
    
    Many thanks to all of the birders who joined us from near and far. The leaders on this trip were: Scott & Linda Terrill, Alex Rinkert, Nick Levendosky, Mary Gustafson, Todd McGrath, and Debi Shearwater. We also saw blue, fin, and humpback whales.
    
    Upcoming trips include: Sep 14, 22, 24, and 30 from Monterey. Sep 15 and 16 from Half Moon Bay. Email me for a reservation: debi@... .
    
    September 9, 2017 Albacore Grounds: Offshore Monterey (more than 40 miles offshore on this trip)
    San Mateo (SM)/Santa Cruz (SCZ)/ Monterey (MTY)
    
    BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS- 3/3/19
    PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER - 1/9/138
    BULLER’S SHEARWATER - 8/48/118
    SOOTY SHEARWATER - 10/64/5687
    BLACK-VENTED SHEARWATER - 0/0/28
    ASHY STORM-PETREL- 2/4/4
    BRANDT’S CORMORANT - 0/0/70
    PELAGIC CORMORANT - 0/0/1
    BROWN PELICAN- 0/0/25
    BLACK TURNSTONE - 0/5/0
    RED-NECKED PHALAROPE - 2/51/8
    RED PHALAROPE - 1/2/3
    SOUTH POLAR SKUA - 0/2/0
    POMARINE JAEGER - 3/3/6
    PARASITIC JAEGER - 1/2/15
    LONG-TAILED JAEGER - 5/10/11
    GUADALUPE MURRELET - 5/2/0
    SCRIPPS’S MURRELET - 0/4/2
    CRAVERI’S MURRELET - 0/2/0
    SCRIPPS’S/GUADALUPE/CRAVERI’S - 0/2/2
    RHINOCEROS AUKLET - 0/8/94
    CASSIN’S AUKLET - 1/0/1
    COMMON MURRE - 0/1/248
    SABINE’S GULL - 1/13/39
    WESTERN GULL- 0/1/55
    CALIFORNIA GULL - 0/1/66
    HEERMANN’S GULL - 0/0/6
    COMMON TERN - 1/3/7
    ARCTIC TERN - 2/0/0
    ELEGANT TERN - 0/0/100
    NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH - 0/1/0
    AMERICAN REDSTART - 0/1/0
    
    Living the Salt Live and SeaBirding for Science,
    Debi Shearwater
    
    DEBRA SHEARWATER
    Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
    PO Box 190
    Hollister, CA 95024
    831.637.8527
    debi@...
    www.shearwaterjourneys.com
    www.shearwaterjourneys.blogspot.com
    
    Celebrating 42 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater Journeys
  26. -back to top-
  27. Another Day on Monterey Bay: Sep 8 LINK
    DATE: Sep 8, 2017 @ 8:09pm, 9 month(s) ago
    Howdy, Birders,
    
    Shearwater Journeys’ Monterey Bay trip today had a few new highlights: TUFTED PUFFIN (Monterey County), RED PHALAROPES, and grand slam with POMARINE, PARASITIC, and LONG-TAILED JAEGERS and SOUTH POLAR SKUA (Santa Cruz County).
    
    Today, there was a lot of seabird movement as the huge schools of baby rockfish off Point Pinos moved on, or were consumed! The vast SOOTY SHEARWATER flock and COMMON MURRES have moved around and broken into smaller flocks. A herd of 1,200 LONG-BEAKED COMMON DOLPHINS were traveling just outside of the harbor this morning.
    
    In addition to the above species, we saw most of the usual fall seabird species: BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS; NORTHERN FULMAR; SOOTY, BULLER’S, BLACK-VENTED, PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS; ASHY STORM-PETREL (3- all Santa Cruz County); SABINE’S GULL; ARCTIC TERN; COMMON MURRE; PIGEON GUILLEMOT; RHINOCEROS and CASSIN’S AUKLETS. Along the Coast Guard Jetty, were BLACK TURNSTONES (5) and SURFBIRD (1).
    
    We ’only’ saw 51 HUMPBACK WHALES and 2 BLUE WHALES.
    
    Tomorrow, we head offshore on our Albacore Grounds trip.
    
    Spaces are available on the following Monterey trips: Sep. 10, 22, 24, 30; Oct. 8. Our Sep 30th trip is planning to spend maximum time in Santa Cruz County. Email me for details on this special trip.
    
    We also have a few spaces available on our Sep. 15 and 16 Half Moon Bay trips. For a reservation, please email me: debi@... .
    
    Living the Salt Life and SeaBirding for Science,
    Debi Shearwater
    
    DEBRA SHEARWATER
    Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
    PO Box 190
    Hollister, CA 95024
    831.637.8527
    debi@...
    www.shearwaterjourneys.com
    www.shearwaterjourneys.blogspot.com
    
    Celebrating 42 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater Journeys
  28. -back to top-
  29. Monterey Seabirds-Trip Report 9/5 LINK
    DATE: Sep 8, 2017 @ 4:37pm, 9 month(s) ago
    All,   Monterey Seabirds went out on Tuesday for an 8 hour pelagic.  We were lucky enough to catch the seabird spectacle previously reported by others on eBird and these lists.
      SOOTY SHEARWATERS were racing into the bay by the tens of thousands as we started our trip.  Sorting through them was a blast and we found numerous PINK-FOOTED and BLACK-VENTED SHEARWATERS mixed throughout.  A real thrill was a MANX SHEARWATER that we spotted sitting on the water off of Point Pinos.  It sat long enough for folks to get some photos.  Several of us on the boat had encountered Manx shearwater before, but were delighted in getting our first decent photos!
      This trip stayed in Monterey County waters, where RHINOCEROS AUKLETS seemed to have really increased lately. CASSIN'S AUKLETS were a bit more scarce on this trip, but we found a few.
      In the northern region of the county, and fairly far offshore, we encountered another real treat-BLUE WHALES and there were gobs of them.  Some offered great looks close to the boat while others fed farther away.  It's difficult to count these whales, as they can stay down in a dive for a while, but our whale experts on board guessed about 20 Blues were in the immediate vicinity. One FIN WHALE also made a brief pass through the group. 
      When we encountered this group Blue Whales, we also found our first ASHY STORM-PETRELS.  Leading to even more excitement on board, a single BLACK STORM-PETREL flew through the area. 
      RISSO'S DOLPHINS, bow-riding PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHIN and breaching HUMPBACK WHALES also fed in these impressively productive waters.
      Also enjoyed by all were BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS, RED and RED-NECKED PHALAROPE, and both PARASITIC and POMARINE JAEGERS to name a few.
        MONTEREY SEABIRDS' next trip is SUNDAY Sept. 10 though it only has a couple spots left.  Our Monday Sept. 11 trip is a 12 hour trip where we hope to spend more time in deeper water.  There is space available on that trip.  
      See our complete list of trips at montereyseabirds.com or call (831) 375-4658 to make a reservation.  
      The season has had a fantastic start.  We hope to see you out on the bay soon.
    
    Good Birding,
    
    Mark Kudrav
    Monterey Seabirds
    Pacific Grove 
  30. -back to top-


-revision history-
v1.30 - 01/05/16 - Revamped cloud logic, optimized database queries, linked to eBird rarities.
v1.23 - 12/08/11 - Added direct link to CBRC records.
v1.22 - 12/03/11 - Corrected GMT offsets on dates. Added last 5 posts at top.
v1.21 - 11/24/11 - Added direct link to range map for NA birds.
v1.2  - 11/23/11 - Greatly improved graphing technology - separates month vs. year by posts. Added species auto-complete functionality.
v1.14 - 11/22/11 - Added cloud bubble for common thread topics.
v1.13 - 11/22/11 - Added integrated photos where available.
v1.12 - 11/22/11 - Added multiple input boxes for additional refinement, negative search criteria (eg. -keyword).
v1.11 - 11/22/11 - Added banding code, species look-up. Also direct link to recent eBird observations.
 v1.1 - 11/22/11 - Added 'date' functionality. Shows top 'month/year' combinations for a query. Restrict results to that 'month/year'.
 v1.0 - 11/21/11 - Initial version coded. Currently archiving 'lacobirds' and 'calbirds'.