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 Month/Year Breakdown (Top 15):

 Oct, 2006 - 14 e-mail(s)...
 Sep, 2015 - 12 e-mail(s)...
 Sep, 2008 - 12 e-mail(s)...
 Sep, 2007 - 11 e-mail(s)...
 Aug, 2005 - 10 e-mail(s)...
 Sep, 2017 - 8 e-mail(s)...
 Aug, 2006 - 7 e-mail(s)...
 Sep, 2006 - 7 e-mail(s)...
 , - 6 e-mail(s)...
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 Sep, 2016 - 6 e-mail(s)...
 Jan, 2009 - 6 e-mail(s)...
 Aug, 2007 - 6 e-mail(s)...
 Oct, 2007 - 6 e-mail(s)...
 Sep, 2002 - 6 e-mail(s)...

   Common Murre
Common Murre
Uria aalge

   Common Murre (Uria aalge) - COMU (recent eBird sightings, view CBRC records, range map

  1. Morro Bay pelagic trip - 14 October LINK
    DATE: Sep 20, 2017 @ 3:33pm, 2 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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  3. Sensational Seabirding: Sep 15 LINK
    DATE: Sep 15, 2017 @ 8:57pm, 2 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
    Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
    PO Box 190
    Hollister, CA 95024
    Celebrating 42 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater Journeys
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    DATE: Sep 12, 2017 @ 7:00pm, 2 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.
    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)
    BULLER’S SHEARWATER - 8/48/118
    SOOTY SHEARWATER - 10/64/5687
    BROWN PELICAN- 0/0/25
    RED PHALAROPE - 1/2/3
    SOUTH POLAR SKUA - 0/2/0
    LONG-TAILED JAEGER - 5/10/11
    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
    Living the Salt Live and SeaBirding for Science,
    Debi Shearwater
    Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
    PO Box 190
    Hollister, CA 95024
    Celebrating 42 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater Journeys
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  7. Another Day on Monterey Bay: Sep 8 LINK
    DATE: Sep 8, 2017 @ 8:09pm, 3 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
    Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
    PO Box 190
    Hollister, CA 95024
    Celebrating 42 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater Journeys
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  9. Monterey Bay: Half a Million Seabirds LINK
    DATE: Sep 7, 2017 @ 8:57pm, 3 month(s) ago
    Howdy, Birders,
    Shearwater Journeys’ Monterey Bay pelagic trip today was nothing short of breathtaking. Highlights included 11 species of tubenoses, six species of shearwaters— SOOTY, PINK-FOOTED, FLESH-FOOTED (Santa Cruz County, spotted in a flock by Alex Rinkert), BULLER’S, MANX, and BLACK-VENTED. We estimated at least 500,000 Sooty Shearwaters off Point Pinos. At least 25 HUMPBACK WHALES were feeding amongst the shearwaters.
    Jim Holmes spotted a flock of 190 ASHY STORM-PETRELS, the first such flock I’ve seen in many years; 3 BLACK STORM-PETRELS and 2 WILSON’S STORM-PETRELS (One in Santa Cruz County and one in Monterey County. The Monterey County Wilson’s was with a flock of shearwaters. No other storm-petrels were around. Could be possible to see this off Point PInos.)
    Three SCRIPPS’S MURRELETS were spotted sitting on the sea by cameraman, Chris Hartzell. Later in the day, Alex Rinkert spotted another solitary SCRIPPS’S MURRELET.
    POMARINE (4), PARASITIC (8), and LONG-TAILED (17) JAEGERS put on a good show, with many Long-tails flying around the boat, as did SABINE’S GULLS and COMMON TERNS.
    We managed to find 3 PIGEON GUILLEMOTS, although most have departed. CASSIN’S AUKLETS (8) were sparse owing to the low amounts of krill. However, COMMON MURRES (1676) were abundant with dads and chicks still calling to each other. We often saw murres with food in their beaks. Small bait fish are plentiful right off Point Pinos, turning the fish finder screen almost solidly red. RHINOCEROS AUKLETS (122) could also be seen with fish in their beaks.
    The whale show continues. We recorded some 65 HUMPBACK WHALES, 6 BLUE WHALES, 4 FIN WHALES, and 3 BAIRD’S BEAKED WHALES. A couple of DALL’S PORPOISES slow-rolled off the bow. Pinnipeds included California sea lion, Northern elephant seal, and Northern fur seal. We saw one MAKO and one BLUE SHARK.
    The ocean is literally teaming with marine life. Seas were glassy-smooth and we expect the same tomorrow. The sea surface temperature reached 65 F today. This report doesn’t really do it justice. Folks on board were thrilled. Many thanks to everyone from near and far who joined us today. Leaders on this trip were Alex Rinkert, Mary Gustafson, Jim Holmes, Rick Fournier, and Debi Shearwater.
    We’ll be heading out of Monterey for the next three days in a row. Spaces are available on tomorrow’s trip and Sunday’s trip. (The albacore trip on Saturday is sold out.) I can only be reached by email at this time: debi@... .
    Living the Salt Life and SeaBirding for Science,
    Debi Shearwater
    Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
    PO Box 190
    Hollister, CA 95024
    Celebrating 42 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater Journeys
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  11. SEP 2: Half Moon Bay Pelagic Trip LINK
    DATE: Sep 3, 2017 @ 5:57am, 3 month(s) ago
    Howdy, Birders, Shearwater Journeys’ pelagic trip out of Half Moon Bay today was nothing short of spectacular with a great show of seabirds and marine mammals. It was so overwhelming that I hardly know where to begin.
    We did not see any ‘rare’ seabirds, only one out-of-season ANCIENT MURRELET in San Francisco County. We also found a few BLACK STORM-PETRELS with a handful of ASHY STORM-PETRELS (also San Francisco County). As far as I know, these are the first reported Black Storm-Petrels for central California. The overall quality of the day was simply amazing.
    Just outside of the harbor, we encountered the mixed flocks of SOOTY SHEARWATERS and COMMON MURRES (many dads with chicks). The shearwaters have been feeding on schooling anchovies, but also on squid recently. Feeding on squid is probably what caused them to move a bit more offshore. But the thing that amazed me about these flocks was that the shearwaters were vocalizing! Like hundreds, if not a couple thousand Sooty Shearwaters sitting on the sea were vocalizing. Although I routinely hear PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS vocalizing, I cannot ever recall hearing sooty shears make the sounds I heard today. Our captain killed the engines and many folks on board made recordings and video.
    We headed out to the weather buoy but made many stops along the way. No boobies were on the buoy. Upon nearing the edge of the shelf we encountered sensational numbers of both HUMPBACK (63) and BLUE WHALES (26) and one FIN WHALE.
    Obviously, with there was an amazing amount of food available to feed 6500 tons of whales! Hundreds of CASSIN’S and RHINOCEROS AUKLETS were present. Flocks of ARCTIC TERNS and SABINE’S GULLS were sitting on the sea. RED and RED-NECKED PHALAROPES were feeding along the edges of the Lines of Convergence. We followed one skinny line that had a one degree SST difference from one side to the other. We left most of the Sooty Shearwaters back at the nearshore, and encountered BULLER’S and PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS along the shelf break. BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES were mostly spotted sitting on the sea due to a lack of wind, as were many of the NORTHERN FULMARS. Overall, jaeger numbers seemed very low, especially given the numbers of Sabine’s Gulls and terns present. However, we did encounter both PARASITIC and LONG-TAILED JAEGERS. It was non-stop birding along the shelf break.
    We also saw over 80 OCEAN SUNFISH, many of them dinner plate sized, but also a few very large individuals. One BLUE SHARK was spotted. Three NORTHERN FUR SEALS, one NORTHERN ELEPHANT SEAL, STELLER’Sand CALIFORNIA SEA LIONS rounded out the pinnipeds for the day. Four HARBOR PORPOISE were spotted inshore.
    It was often difficult to know which direction to move the boat because we were surrounded by whales on all sides, their stinky breath wafting across the stern. We spotted chunks of bright orange-red whale poo, too! Many invertebrates were noted in the water column, including salps, pteropods, moon jellies, sea nettles and ctenophores.
    Somehow this just doesn’t really capture a day with nearly non-stop marine life action. It was like being on a maritime carousel and wanting to reach out for the gold ring.
    Sea conditions were excellent. Visibility was excellent. Tomorrow is expected to be the same. Other upcoming departures from Half Moon Bay include: September 15 and 16; October 7. Departures from Monterey Bay include: September 7, 8, 10, 22, 24, 30; October 8. For reservations, email: debi@... .
    Living the Salt Life and SeaBirding for Science,
    Debi Shearwater
    Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
    PO Box 190
    Hollister, CA 95024
    Celebrating 42 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater Journeys
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  13. Two back to back Farallons trips LINK
    DATE: Aug 12, 2017 @ 7:26pm, 3 month(s) ago
    Hello all,     Just a quick note after two back to back trips to the Farallon Islands on Friday and today. It was a bit choppy getting out there, but slow and steady did it and we arrived eager to see some birds and wildlife. On both days the Island was fantastic, with many Tufted Puffins, really great numbers of Cassin’s Auklets, Pigeon Guillemots and a few Rhinoceros Auklets amongst the larger numbers of Common Murres. The Blue-footed Booby was there on both days, and today we also saw a Brown Booby – Fantastic. Northern Fur Seals are going like gangbusters, I gather the best season they have had there. California Sea Lions, Steller’s Sea Lions, Harbor Seals and a couple of Grey Whales. The islands do not disappoint.     We are able to get out to deep water on the way back to port (Half Moon Bay) and it was fantastic on both days. Surrounded by Blue Whales and Humpback Whales! Yesterday apart from the Sooty and Pink-footed shearwaters, and Black-footed Shearwaters yesterday a group of 4 Wilson’s Storm-Petrels along with several Ashy Storm-Petrels were great to see. Today a real highlight was a super close fly by from a Laysan Albatross. It was close enough that the photos show a red color band which we will send in to determine where this albatross came from. Ashy Storm-Petrel showed up today, Northern Fulmars etc. Both were superb days, really, really fun birding. The Laysan was in SF County, Wilson’s SP in San Mateo County.    And as Alan Hopkins reported yesterday on SFBirds, he was able to get on a Cook’s Petrel which unfortunately none of us were able to see. It was choppy and difficult that that time. Pheew, I am tired, but happy tired! Lots more trips are happening this season, see you out there. Alvaro   Alvaro Jaramillo alvaro@...  
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    DATE: Aug 7, 2017 @ 2:16pm, 4 month(s) ago
    Howdy, Birders,
    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
    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!
    Shearwaters Forever,
    Debi Shearwater
    Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
    PO Box 190
    Hollister, CA 95024
    Celebrating 42 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater Journeys
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  17. Farallon Report, YES Blue-footed Booby , NO Parakeet Auklet by boat LINK
    DATE: Jul 24, 2017 @ 11:53am, 4 month(s) ago
    Hi Birders,
    Yesterday ( Sunday) i made a last minute decision to join a Farallon Island tour with SF Whale Watch Tours ( 8-2 pm, $90) knowing that Captain Joe is birder friendly , i thought that he would oblige a request to return to Pier 39 by way of Homer Rock to spend time searching for the Parakeet Auklet, he said he would be happy to try conditions permitting, unfortunately weather and time constraints did not permit ( and i dipped on a subsequent search by land, missing the bird by 30 minutes). Seems like SFWT might be amenable to looking for PAAU on their daily general whale watch tours, and I was told it had been spotted by them from the boat already.
    Farallon is phenomenal this time of year, no doubt best to go with Alvaro's Adventures or Shearwater Journeys if you can, but Oceanic Society ( very good , went with them last year) and SF Whale Tour go out every weekend. SFWT has a knowledgable naturalist who is also a good birder ( Michael Pierson) , and they have a stable double hulled boat, but typically they don't go out to the Continental Shelf and i wished we could have spent more time going around the islands, but getting back by 2pm can be a advantage for some people as well. Farallons for me is an annual must. 200k Common Murres is a world class wildlife spectacle for the eyes, ears and nose, and the many chicks in downy fluffball plumage having just jumped off the cliff to join their calling fathers were extremely photogenic as were Rhinoceros Auklets ( one very relaxed bird next to the boat) and Tufted Puffins in peak breeding regalia, also Cassins Auklets and many Pigeon Guillemots. There have been 3 sulids hanging around the islands this summer, a BROWN and 2 BLUE-FOOTED BOOBIES, but we saw only one of the latter perched on Sugarloaf Rock. 5 Pinniped species were observed ( California and Steller's Sea Lions, Norther Fur, Northern Elephant and Harbor Seals) and 3 of Cetacea (resident Gray Whales, friendly and breaching Humpbacks, several pods Harbor Porpoise), Others: Pink-footed and Sooty Shearwater,
    David Diller
    Sent by Ipad
    Please disregard any typos
    925-998-8469 mobile/ text
    David Diller
    Sent by Ipad
    Please disregard any typos
    925-998-8469 mobile/ text
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  19. Ventura pelagic trip report - 16 July 2017, Cook's Petrels, Craveri's Murrelets, and more! LINK
    DATE: Jul 20, 2017 @ 5:21pm, 4 month(s) ago
    Hi all
    On Sunday July 16, Island Packers hosted a 12-hour pelagic trip from the Ventura Harbor. With a favorable forecast, our goal was to go southwest to waters west and south of San Nicolas Island. Upon leaving the Ventura Harbor, our first destination was Anacapa Island where we would look for boobies, shearwaters, and some of the local nesting species we were not likely to see farther offshore. En route we encountered several flocks of shearwaters feeding around dolphin schools that included numbers of Black-vented (which were earlier in the season than expected), Sooty, and a few Pink-footed Shearwaters. We also saw two Common Murres in this area, which was nearly all we saw of that species for the day. As we worked the flocks of shearwaters looking for something uncommon or rare, shouts of BOOBY! rang out. The feeding activity in the area attracted two Brown Boobies. One took off quickly, but the other stayed for extended looks and great photo ops as it flew right past the boat several times. After the booby left, we worked the shore of Anacapa Island where we saw numbers of Pigeon Guillemots and other breeders including a few Black Oystercatchers.
    From Anacapa Island we headed west to several underwater features and the Anacapa Passage where there were large flocks of the common shearwaters and a variety of other species including Northern Fulmar, Cassin's Auklet, and Rhinoceros Auklet; all of which allowed close views. After thoroughly checking this area, we headed south and west to the waters west of San Nicolas Island. We had a steady trickle of birds (shearwaters, Cassin's Auklets, Red-necked Phalaropes, etc.) along our route highlighted by several South Polar Skuas, Ashy and Black Storm-Petrels, Scripps's Murrelets, and the first of our 45 +/-Craveri's Murrelets seen on the day. Yes...45 Craveri's Murrelets!! Not a typo. The thrill of the day followed soon after as we were looking at a blue whale; a gray bird with an "M" pattern across its back and clean white undersides zipped through our view, which led to simultaneous cries of COOK'S PETREL!! This was the first we have seen off southern California since 2010. Traversing that area led to us finding several more Cook's and a variety of other life, including a fin whale.
    Crossing the deep waters south of San Nicolas yielded more Cook's Petrels, several dozen Craveri's Murrelets, a Black-footed Albatross, and three loggerhead turtles. The turtles were a rare treat as we almost never see them on our pelagic trips. I shared our sightings with NOAA today and they informed me that loggerheads have increased in the Southern California Bight over the last few years (perhaps due to warmer water), so maybe we will start to see more of them. From San Nicolas we plotted our course north back to Ventura where wecontinued to see a variety of birds throughout the rest of the day including another Brown Booby, Red Phalarope, Black and Ashy Storm-Petrels, and the usual pelagic species. In addition to the great diversity of birds, we saw three species of whales, mako shark, blue shark, mola mola, two swordfish, a very cooperative northern fur seal, and a variety of dolphins and pinnipeds. We encountered so much wildlife on this trip that it felt like someone had left the zoo door open. Remarkable day at sea!
    I would like to thank the people that made this trip such a success including the captain and crew from Island Packers. Captain Jimmy McWaters did an incredible job getting us views of all the wildlife, which occasionally included speeding after skuas and petrels. He was as enthusiastic as we were and really worked with us to get to the areas we wanted to explore. Joel Barrett balanced his duties on the boat with spotting birds all day. His enthusiasm for doing these trips should ensure that we will continue to have pelagic trips running to the areas around and beyond the northern Channel Islands. He and I are talking about a number of options for exploring some areas that birders are drooling to get to on a day trip...stay tuned! I also want to thank the leaders we had on board including Bernardo Alps, Wes Fritz, Peter Gaede, Dan Maxwell, Todd McGrath, Hugh Ranson, and Adam Searcy. These guys work tirelessly all day spotting birds and helping participants get on the species they are looking for...all while having fun and sharing their great depth of knowledge on seabirds and other creatures of the deep.
    We have a 10-hour trip scheduled for Oct 7 so check out Island Packers website if you are interested in joining us. 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 Oct trip is $170 per person.
    Also check out our "Southern California Pelagic Bird Trips" Facebook page.Later this evening, I will post this trip report with a number of photos from Sunday.
    Dave Pereksta
    Ventura, CA
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  21. Documentation for Wedge-tailed Shearwater LINK
    DATE: Jul 17, 2017 @ 9:45am, 4 month(s) ago
    Birders,   Wedge-tailed Shearwater is a California Bird Records Committee (CBRC) review species, with only nine previously accepted records in the state. As such, I encourage anyone who saw this bird to please submit your photos or written descriptions
    to the CBRC . Thank you.   Tom   Thomas A. Benson Secretary, California Bird Records Committee secretary@...       
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  23. Wedge-tailed Shearwater - and otherwise good pelagic out of Half Moon Bay LINK
    DATE: Jul 16, 2017 @ 9:51pm, 4 month(s) ago
    Hello Birders, I posted some quickie info to penbirds yesterday, in case anyone could find the shearwater from shore. We found it at the start of our pelagic trip, very close to shore. Sadly no one did find it. But here is the full story. Minutes from exiting Pillar Point Harbor, we saw this shearwater coming towards the boat with bowed wings, looking almost red-footed booby like as it came in head on. It went by at a moderate distance along the starboard side of the boat. My mind went to Wedge-tailed Shearwater, but the view was just not that good. While I was on the loudspeaker I yelled to look at this bird, asking “what is this thing” The captain went to chase mode as we could see the bird heading towards surfers beach. Captain Tom Mattusch put full throttle on, and we raced chasing the bird while Logan Kahle and Chris Hayward kept the bird in view. Then we lost it…gone. Bird feeding frenzies were forming, and there were lots of birds around, so picking out a dark bird from lots of gulls and pelicans was a struggle. I communicated that I thought the bird looked like a Wedge-tailed Shearwater, but I knew that with that quick view and no photos, it would have to go down as a somewhat dodgy report for a bird this rare. Then, we got on it again, and were able to approach, the bird getting a little closer and closer and sure enough it gave an awesome and close fly by. The shutters were going, and we were able to document the bird really well. It was a Wedge-tailed Shearwater!! Photos available on our facebook site, thanks to the various photographers who were able to get superb photos in very low and gray light. This was a dark morph individual. Key identification features are that this shearwater is long winged, with a distinctive wing shape, holding the wings bowed down when seen head on, and forward and angled at the wrist. Although a larger shearwater in length, this is not a heavy shearwater, so light in wing loading. In flight it flaps little, gliding much more than you would see in a Sooty Shearwater. Unlike a Flesh-footed, the bill is thin and dark. Key is that the body is long, particularly behind the wings with a distinctively long tail, which is wedge shaped. This individual was ratty and molting, with old outer primaries and new inners. Given that at this time of year they should be breeding, my assumption is that this is a first year bird as the adults would molt after they breed. Needless to say while the rest of the pelagic trip was good, we all knew that it was likely that we had already seen the best bird of the day. In SF County a Wilson’s Storm-Petrel was a nice goody, in with several Ashy Storm-Petrels. It was a good day for Tufted Puffin, we saw them (4) in both San Francisco and San Mateo. But in SF we had a “friendly” Tufted Puffin that would swim feet away from the boat and actually followed, I would say chased us, for some time. That bird was a highlight, and great pictures were taken. Note that local fishermen have told me that this week two days in a row a Tufted Puffin was in with the murres off Pedro Point in Pacifica! We found good numbers of Black-footed Albatross in both counties, Northern Fulmar in SF, more Ashy Storm-Petrels, lots of Sooty and Pink-foots, as well as Common Murres (many youngsters), Rhino and Cassin’s Auklets. As it is early in the season only Red-necked Phalaropes were present. Three distant Pomarine/Parasitic jaegers were the first of the season. Most of the seabird activity was at the continental shelf edge and just outside but inside of the shelf there were few birds. Given the nice numbers offshore, the fact that we have found storm-petrels on both of our trips, and nice numbers of albatross and a rarity already – well it looks like it is building to be a great pelagic season. See you out there.     Good birding, Alvaro   Alvaro Jaramillo alvaro@alvar  
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  25. Pelagic trip out of Ventura with Island Packers on July 16 LINK
    DATE: Jun 30, 2017, 5 month(s) ago
    Hi All
    This is a reminder that Island Packers is offering a 12-hour deepwater pelagic trip from the Ventura Harbor at 7 am on Sunday July 16. 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. Our intention is to go south from Ventura towards San Nicolas
    Island and the banks, knolls, canyons and other productive features in
    the area. This will give us a chance to look for sought after species
    like Red-billed Tropicbird, Least Storm-Petrel, Leach's Storm-Petrel,
    Townsend's Storm-Petrel, Guadalupe Murrelet and Craveri's Murrelet. Research trips that have traversed the area south of the Channel Islands
    this spring have recorded a few rare species including a Nazca Booby
    and Cook's Petrels. We
    will decide what our offshore destination will be after reviewing
    oceanographic conditions at the time of the trip, which will help
    determine where the birds and other marine life may be present or
    trips in July and August
    coincide with the earlier parts of the southbound fall migration of
    arctic nesting species, the northward dispersal of southern nesting
    species, and the nesting and fledging periods of breeding species on the
    Channel Islands. Past trips have found Manx Shearwater (rare),
    Black-footed Albatross, Laysan Albatross (rare), Buller's Shearwater,
    Leach's Storm-Petrel,
    Blue-footed Booby, Brown Booby, Long-tailed
    Jaeger, South Polar Skua, Scripps's Murrelet, Craveri's Murrelet (several were seen out of San Diego last week so they are around), Arctic Tern, and a variety of other shearwaters,
    storm-petrels, pelagic gulls and terns, phalaropes, and alcids.
    Patrolling the shoreline of Anacapa Island has yielded American
    Oystercatchers over the last few years. Summer is also an excellent
    time for Ashy and Black Storm-Petrels, and Cassin's Auklets. There is
    often a flock of 1000's of Black Storm-Petrels south of the islands
    that we will attempt to find. A few Rhinoceros Auklets and Common Murres should still be
    around, along with Pigeon Guillemots near the islands. Red-billed
    Tropicbird is always possible on summer trips, although not found every
    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...photographers will not be disappointed!
    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 $195 per adult.
    Hope to see you at sea!
    Dave Pereksta
    Ventura, CA
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  27. San Diego Pelagic May 21st, 2017 LINK
    DATE: Apr 30, 2017, 7 month(s) ago
    The first spring pelagic for Buena Vista Audubon and Grande
    Sportfishing is on May 21st. This is a 12hr. trip departing from San Diego Bay.
    We plan to visit the waters over the Nine Mile Bank, San Diego Trough, and the
    Thirty Mile Bank. The entire trip will be in U.S. waters, largely San Diego
    County, but we may cross briefly in to Los Angeles County waters.
    Some of the
    expected species are Pink-footed, and Sooty Shearwaters; Black, Ashy, and
    Leach's Storm Petrels; Brown Booby; Red and Red-necked Phalarope; Pomarine and
    Parasitic Jaeger; Scripps's Murrelet; Cassin's Auklet; Sabine's Gull; and Least,
    Common, and Elegant Terns.
    Some of the possible species include Black-footed
    Albatross, Northern Fulmar, Black-vented Shearwater, Red-billed Tropicbird, South
    Polar Skua, Common Murre, Long-tailed Jaeger, and Arctic Tern. This is the peak
    of the spring migration and often gives us a surprise or two, sometimes
    including land and shorebirds. Marine mammals are also expected, and may
    include several species of whales and dolphin. You should get some excellent
    photo opportunities on this trip. More trip details are available on our website .
    The regular price is $105. We have an "EARLY BIRD" Special at $95
    which ends TODAY, Sunday April 30th. Call Point Loma Sportfishing at 619
    223-1627 seven days a week to reserve your spot onboard.
    I hope to see you out there,
    Dave Povey Dulzura
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  29. Monster Common Murre flight in Monterey Bay LINK
    DATE: Apr 9, 2017 @ 8:39am, 8 month(s) ago
    Yesterday was the biggest Common Murre flight on record at Pt. Pinos. All birds were heading south or southwest around the point. Blake Matheson and Don Roberson had 67K in just two hours in the late morning, and Paul Fenwick and I had another 10K in the afternoon. How many we missed I have no idea. But I think it's safe to say that low hundreds of thousands of Common Murres probably passed the point heading south yesterday, as typically alcid flights are biggest early the morning tapering off throughout the day. Why such numbers No good idea. Are things already crashing at breeding colonies in the north
    Here are some relevant eBird checklists:
    The previous high count was 32K on 22 December 2014:
    Brian L. Sullivan
    eBird Project Leader
    Photo Editor
    Birds of North America Online
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