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 Month/Year Breakdown (Top 15):

 Oct, 2006 - 13 e-mail(s)...
 Sep, 2007 - 10 e-mail(s)...
 Aug, 2007 - 9 e-mail(s)...
 Aug, 2006 - 7 e-mail(s)...
 Sep, 2006 - 6 e-mail(s)...
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 Oct, 2004 - 4 e-mail(s)...
 Sep, 2016 - 4 e-mail(s)...
 Apr, 2002 - 4 e-mail(s)...



   Pigeon Guillemot
Pigeon Guillemot
Cepphus columba


   Pigeon Guillemot (Cepphus columba) - PIGU (recent eBird sightings, view CBRC records, range map
)

  1. Two back to back Farallons trips LINK
    DATE: Aug 12, 2017 @ 7:26pm, 5 day(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@... www.alvarosadventures.com  
  2. -back to top-
  3. Parakeet Auklet flight photos LINK
    DATE: Jul 25, 2017 @ 7:50pm, 23 day(s) ago
    Hi Folks, I was fortunate to arrive at 9am, as a keen birder alerted us to the presence of the PAAU nearshore at Mile Rock overlook. The Parakeet Auklet perched on a near shore rock below the overlook, until Pigeon Guillemots drove it off. The auklet would fly out and return only to be chased off again. The repeated chasing by guillemots allowed many flight shot opportunities. I hope they help in flight pattern identification.
    
    http://rauzon.zenfolio.com/p873910623/h9143AAFD/slideshow#h9143aafa
    
    Thanks for all the postings, and to our wonderful finder this incredible morning.
    
    MarkRauzon Oakland
  4. -back to top-
  5. Farallon Report, YES Blue-footed Booby , NO Parakeet Auklet by boat LINK
    DATE: Jul 24, 2017 @ 11:53am, 24 day(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
  6. -back to top-
  7. Ventura pelagic trip report - 16 July 2017, Cook's Petrels, Craveri's Murrelets, and more! LINK
    DATE: Jul 20, 2017 @ 5:21pm, 28 day(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.
    
    Cheers
    
    Dave Pereksta
    Ventura, CA
  8. -back to top-
  9. Albacore fishing and migratory seabirds LINK
    DATE: Sep 29, 2016, 11 month(s) ago
    Debi,
    
    I am picking up on something that you said that is perhaps confusing As you note there are a bunch of seabird species that associate with the habitat of albacore, that warmer nutrient poor, very blue and clear water. However, several of the species that you mention are migrants that move through here irrelevant of where the albacore are, such as the jaegers, Sabine’s Gull, terns. I think the issue about detection through our area, is how far out they are and how concentrated the pulses of migration are. If they are moving through closer to shore, pelagic trips see more of them, if they are offshore we see fewer. But they are going through irrelevant of where the albacore and the fishing for albacore is going on. Obviously they capitalize on the resource of bait fish (often Pacific Saury) brought to the surface by foraging albacore, and may linger in areas where feeding is good, but the migration goes on. For some of these the migratory peak has passed already through our latitude in central California, such as for Long-tailed Jaeger, Common and Arctic terns. Tail end of fall migration is difficult to get a good grip on, as there are fewer trips in October, and even fewer in November. But for those that peak in September I think the data are pretty clear, the larger pulse is likely south of us.
    
    Buller’s Shearwaters are kind of a mystery, a fickle species with definite good years and bad years. They are associated with that offshore blue water, but their numbers and seemingly their distribution shifts radically from year to year. This also applies to the migratory pulse in Chile during February – March, where it appears that some years they are much easier to find than in others, although with fewer eyes out there that is difficult to determine with much confidence thus far. But so far, 2016 is a year where pelagic trips in California and farther north are not finding Buller’s in numbers anywhere it seems. Even in Washington State if you look at eBird data for 2016 vs pre 2016, birds per hour or any other metric, they are down this year, similarly so for Oregon. Now caveat is that October could bring in a big pulse and we are back to normal, and that is what I am certainly hoping for. But September numbers appear to be low compared to pre 2016 September numbers too. Birds per party hour in 2016 maxes out at 1/pph in early September, pre 2016 max is near 14, and in early September it is 4. It is a tad coarse to look at numbers like this, but I think a solid argument can be made that within the range of pelagic birding boats, this is a bad year for them thus far anywhere along the US coast. Perhaps they are just farther offshore this year Who knows
    
    Here are the links of eBird data to compare.
    
    Buller’s Shearwaters per hour Washington State – Pre 2016
    
    http://ebird.org/ebird/GuideMespeciesCodes=bulshe < http://ebird.org/ebird/GuideMespeciesCodes=bulshe&reportType=species&bMonth=01&bYear=1900&eMonth=12&eYear=2016&parentState=US-WA&countries=US&states=US-WA&getLocations=states&continue.x=53&continue.y=3 > &reportType=species&bMonth=01&bYear=1900&eMonth=12&eYear=2016&parentState=US-WA&countries=US&states=US-WA&getLocations=states&continue.x=53&continue.y=3
    
    Buller’s Shearwaters per hour Washington State 2016
    
    http://ebird.org/ebird/GuideMesrc=changeDate < http://ebird.org/ebird/GuideMesrc=changeDate&speciesCodes=bulshe&getLocations=states&states=US-WA&parentState=US-WA&reportType=species&monthRadio=on&bMonth=01&eMonth=12&bYear=2016&eYear=2016&continue.x=74&continue.y=10 > &speciesCodes=bulshe&getLocations=states&states=US-WA&parentState=US-WA&reportType=species&monthRadio=on&bMonth=01&eMonth=12&bYear=2016&eYear=2016&continue.x=74&continue.y=10
    
    Good birding,
    
    Alvaro
    
    Alvaro Jaramillo
    
    alvaro@...
    
    www.alvarosadventures.com
    
    From: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com [mailto: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of DEBRA SHEARWATER debi@... [CALBIRDS]
    
    Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2016 7:23 PM
    
    To: Calbirds < CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com >
    
    Subject: [CALBIRDS] Pelagic Trips: Sep 23, 24, 25 & Upcoming Trips
    
    Howdy, CALBirders,
    
    Shearwater Journeys held three successful pelagic trips in conjunction with the Monterey Bay Birding Festival on September 23, 24, and 25. Each day was a little bit different. At least one new species was added each day.
    
    On Sunday, we found a huge feeding aggregation of Brandt’s Cormorants, gulls, and Black-vented Shearwaters. They appeared to be feeding on small anchovies. It was quite a frenzy as the cormorants drove the fish in front of the flock with gulls noisily calling and swirling overhead, providing visual and auditory cues for seabirds in the surrounding areas. Like magic, hundreds of Black-vented Shearwaters began streaming toward the frantically feeding flock. However, another cue was provided by the pungent smell of fish— an olfactory cue! Using all three cues, birds flew in from all directions. Once the feeding was over a large fish oil slick was all that was left on the sea. This is something that I have witnessed several times over the past four decades.
    
    Now that the albacore fishing is winding down off Washington, the seabirds associated with that industry are showing up in numbers along our coast. All three jaeger species, South Polar Skuas, and Sabine’s Gulls, along with a trickle of Arctic Terns were the first ones to show up. Buller’s Shearwater numbers have increased in the past ten days. Flesh-footed Shearwaters are sure to follow. Scripps’s and Craveri’s Murrelets which also associate closely with albacore could show up, if there is any clear, blue water in our area. Albacore changed their migration pattern about a decade ago and now head to Oregon and Washington, mostly bypassing central California. The seabirds associated with them tend to follow, if conditions are right.
    
    Our upcoming trips departing from Monterey with spaces available are:
    
    OCTOBER 1 with Nick Levendosky, Alex Rinkert, Jim Holmes, Christian Schwarz, Debi Shearwater.
    
    OCTOBER 8 with Alex Rinkert, Tim Miller, Clay Kempf, Debi Shearwater
    
    OCTOBER 16 with Nick Levendosky, Alex Rinkert, Debi Shearwater
    
    And, from Half Moon Bay:
    
    OCTOBER 2 with Steve Tucker, Steve Hampton, Jim Holmes, Debi Shearwater
    
    Reservations: debi@...
    
    The birders who did all three trips (September 23, 24, 25) recorded the following species:
    
    PACIFIC LOON
    
    COMMON LOON
    
    BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS
    
    PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER
    
    BULLER’S SHEARWATER
    
    SOOTY SHEARWATER
    
    BLACK-VENTED SHEARWATER
    
    ASHY STORM-PETREL
    
    BROWN PELICAN
    
    BRANDT’S CORMORANT
    
    PELAGIC CORMORANT
    
    DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT
    
    BLACK OYSTERCATCHER
    
    WHIMBREL
    
    BLACK TURNSTONE
    
    SURFBIRD
    
    RED-NECKED PHALAROPE
    
    SOUTH POLAR SKUA
    
    POMARINE JAEGER
    
    PARASITIC JAEGER
    
    LONG-TAILED JAEGER
    
    HEERMANN’S GULL
    
    CALIFORNIA GULL
    
    WESTERN GULL
    
    SABINE’S GULL
    
    ELEGANT TERN
    
    FORSTER’S TERN
    
    COMMON MURRE
    
    PIGEON GUILLEMOT
    
    CASSIN’S AUKLET
    
    RHINOCEROS AUKLET
    
    TUFTED PUFFIN
    
    BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON
    
    PEREGRINE FALCON
    
    GREAT EGRET
    
    SNOWY EGRET
    
    HUMMINGBIRD SP.
    
    Marine mammals recorded on all three trips included:
    
    SEA OTTER
    
    CALIFORNIA SEA LION
    
    NORTHERN ELEPHANT SEAL
    
    NORTHERN FUR SEAL
    
    HARBOR SEAL
    
    HUMPBACK WHALE
    
    SHORT-BEAKED COMMON DOLPHIN
    
    RISSO’S DOLPHIN
    
    PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHIN
    
    BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN
    
    Also:
    
    OCEAN SUNFISH
    
    BLUE SHARK
    
    Many thanks to all of the birders who joined us. The leaders on these trips were: Nick Levendosky, Alex Rinkert, Scott Terrill, Linda Terrill, Dena Spatz, Tim Miller, Abe Borker, Christian Schwarz, Clay Kempf, and Debi Shearwater. All trips were entered into eBird following pelagic protocol.
    
    A recap of Shearwater Journeys’ September pelagic trips can be found here:
    
    http://shearwaterjourneys.blogspot.com/2016/09/september-2016-pelagic-bonanza_11.html
    
    Living the Salt Life,
    
    Debi Shearwater
    
    DEBRA SHEARWATER
    
    Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
    
    PO Box 190
    
    Hollister, CA 95024
    
    831.637.8527
    
    debi@...
    
    < http://www.shearwaterjourneys.com > www.shearwaterjourneys.com
    
    < http://www.shearwaterjourneys.blogspot.com > www.shearwaterjourneys.blogspot.com
    
    Celebrating 41 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater Journeys
    
    Siberia’s Forgotten Coast Voyage: 27 June -10 July with Debi & nesting Spoon-billed Sandpipers
    
    Russia’s Ring of Fire: 30 May - 11 June
    
    Sea of Okhotsk: 12 - 23 June
    
    
  10. -back to top-
  11. Pelagic Trips: Sep 23, 24, 25 & Upcoming Trips LINK
    DATE: Sep 29, 2016, 11 month(s) ago
    Howdy, CALBirders,
    
    Shearwater Journeys held three successful pelagic trips in conjunction with the Monterey Bay Birding Festival on September 23, 24, and 25. Each day was a little bit different. At least one new species was added each day.
    
    On Sunday, we found a huge feeding aggregation of Brandt’s Cormorants, gulls, and Black-vented Shearwaters. They appeared to be feeding on small anchovies. It was quite a frenzy as the cormorants drove the fish in front of the flock with gulls noisily calling and swirling overhead, providing visual and auditory cues for seabirds in the surrounding areas. Like magic, hundreds of Black-vented Shearwaters began streaming toward the frantically feeding flock. However, another cue was provided by the pungent smell of fish— an olfactory cue! Using all three cues, birds flew in from all directions. Once the feeding was over a large fish oil slick was all that was left on the sea. This is something that I have witnessed several times over the past four decades.
    
    Now that the albacore fishing is winding down off Washington, the seabirds associated with that industry are showing up in numbers along our coast. All three jaeger species, South Polar Skuas, and Sabine’s Gulls, along with a trickle of Arctic Terns were the first ones to show up. Buller’s Shearwater numbers have increased in the past ten days. Flesh-footed Shearwaters are sure to follow. Scripps’s and Craveri’s Murrelets which also associate closely with albacore could show up, if there is any clear, blue water in our area. Albacore changed their migration pattern about a decade ago and now head to Oregon and Washington, mostly bypassing central California. The seabirds associated with them tend to follow, if conditions are right.
    
    Our upcoming trips departing from Monterey with spaces available are:
    OCTOBER 1 with Nick Levendosky, Alex Rinkert, Jim Holmes, Christian Schwarz, Debi Shearwater.
    OCTOBER 8 with Alex Rinkert, Tim Miller, Clay Kempf, Debi Shearwater
    OCTOBER 16 with Nick Levendosky, Alex Rinkert, Debi Shearwater
    And, from Half Moon Bay:
    OCTOBER 2 with Steve Tucker, Steve Hampton, Jim Holmes, Debi Shearwater
    Reservations: debi@...
    
    The birders who did all three trips (September 23, 24, 25) recorded the following species:
    
    PACIFIC LOON
    COMMON LOON
    BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS
    PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER
    BULLER’S SHEARWATER
    SOOTY SHEARWATER
    BLACK-VENTED SHEARWATER
    ASHY STORM-PETREL
    BROWN PELICAN
    BRANDT’S CORMORANT
    PELAGIC CORMORANT
    DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT
    BLACK OYSTERCATCHER
    WHIMBREL
    BLACK TURNSTONE
    SURFBIRD
    RED-NECKED PHALAROPE
    SOUTH POLAR SKUA
    POMARINE JAEGER
    PARASITIC JAEGER
    LONG-TAILED JAEGER
    HEERMANN’S GULL
    CALIFORNIA GULL
    WESTERN GULL
    SABINE’S GULL
    ELEGANT TERN
    FORSTER’S TERN
    COMMON MURRE
    PIGEON GUILLEMOT
    CASSIN’S AUKLET
    RHINOCEROS AUKLET
    TUFTED PUFFIN
    BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON
    PEREGRINE FALCON
    GREAT EGRET
    SNOWY EGRET
    HUMMINGBIRD SP.
    
    Marine mammals recorded on all three trips included:
    SEA OTTER
    CALIFORNIA SEA LION
    NORTHERN ELEPHANT SEAL
    NORTHERN FUR SEAL
    HARBOR SEAL
    HUMPBACK WHALE
    SHORT-BEAKED COMMON DOLPHIN
    RISSO’S DOLPHIN
    PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHIN
    BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN
    
    Also:
    OCEAN SUNFISH
    BLUE SHARK
    
    Many thanks to all of the birders who joined us. The leaders on these trips were: Nick Levendosky, Alex Rinkert, Scott Terrill, Linda Terrill, Dena Spatz, Tim Miller, Abe Borker, Christian Schwarz, Clay Kempf, and Debi Shearwater. All trips were entered into eBird following pelagic protocol.
    
    A recap of Shearwater Journeys’ September pelagic trips can be found here:
    http://shearwaterjourneys.blogspot.com/2016/09/september-2016-pelagic-bonanza_11.html
    
    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 41 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater Journeys
    Siberia ’s Forgotten Coast Voyage: 27 June -10 July with Debi & nesting Spoon-billed Sandpipers
    Russia ’s Ring of Fire: 30 May - 11 June
    Sea of Okhotsk: 12 - 23 June
  12. -back to top-
  13. Seabirding: Monterey & Half Moon Bay LINK
    DATE: Sep 14, 2016 @ 8:25pm, 11 month(s) ago
    Howdy, CAL Birders,
    
    Shearwater Journeys has just completed six Monterey Bay pelagic trips — September 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 14. Monterey seabirds and marine mammals have put on quite a show — and it continued today with some very, very fine marine conditions. We reached 60 degree SST today with clear, dark, deep blue waters.
    
    On today’s Monterey trip we observed: BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS; SOOTY, BULLER’S PINK-FOOTED and BLACK-VENTED SHEARWATERS; RED and RED-NECKED PHALAROPES; SOUTH POLAR SKUA; POMARINE, PARASITIC, and LONG-TAILED JAEGERS; SABINE’S GULLS; ELEGANT, COMMON, ARCTIC, and FORSTER’S TERNS; COMMON MURRE; PIGEON GUILLEMOT; CASSIN’S and RHINOCEROS AUKLETS.
    
    Along the Coast Guard Breakwater, we found: BLACK TURNSTONE and SURFBIRD. WHIMBREL and MARBLED GODWITS were flybys. The PEREGRINE FALCON was on the radio tower. Eight TRICOLORED BLACKBIRDS circled above the harbor.
    
    Marine mammals today included: MINKE, FIN, HUMPBACK, and KILLER WHALES; RISSO’S and PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHINS; SEA OTTER; and NORTHERN FUR SEALS. Two BLUE SHARKS were seen in the clear, 60 F SST water offshore, as were likely bluefin tuna.
    
    Other species included on earlier trips included: ASHY STORM-PETREL, including one being chased by a Parasitic Jaeger; and two very obliging SCRIPPS’S MURRELETS. Other marine mammals sighted have included: BLUE, SEI, and BAIRD’S BEAKED WHALES; and SHORT-BEAKED COMMON DOLPHINS.
    
    There is a lot of food around the greater Monterey Bay area. It seems to be a non-stop smorgasbord for the past four weeks.
    
    The marine weather looks great! Our full program of remaining trips is below. Spaces are available. I can only be reached by email: debi@...
    
    MONTEREY BAY:
    
    SEP 15 with Hannah Nevins, Jim Holmes, Dave Pereksta, Debi Shearwater
    SEP 23 with Nick Levendosky, Christian Schwarz, Clay Kempf, Debi Shearwater
    SEP 24 with Alex Rinkert, Scott & Linda Terrill, Dena Spatz, Tim Miller, Abe Borker, Debi Shearwater
    SEP 25 with Nick Levendosky, Abe Borker, Tim Miller, Debi Shearwater
    OCT 1 with Nick Levendosky, Christian Schwarz, Jim Holmes, Alex Rinkert, Debi Shearwater
    OCT 8 with Alex Rinkert, Tim Miller, Christian Schwarz, Debi Shearwater
    OCT 16 with Nick Levendosky, Alex Rinkert, Debi Shearwater
    
    SEP 23, 24, 25 trips are in conjunction with the Monterey Bay Birding Festival. However, one does not need to be attending the festival to join any of those trips.
    
    HALF MOON BAY:
    SEP 16 with Jim Holmes, Steve Hampton, Abe Borker, Debi Shearwater
    SEP 18 with Jim Holmes, Alex Rinkert, Steve Tucker, Scott & Linda Terrill, Debi Shearwater
    OCT 2 with Steve Tucker, Jim Holmes, Steve Hampton, Debi Shearwater
    OCT 9 with Nick Levendosky, Abe Borker, Tim Miller, Steve Hampton, Debi Shearwater
    
    RESERVATIONS: Email Debi Shearwater: debi@...
    
    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 41 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater Journeys
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  15. Trip Report Monterey Seabirds 9/11/16 LINK
    DATE: Sep 13, 2016 @ 5:05pm, 11 month(s) ago
    Hello Everyone- Here is the most recent pelagic report from Monterey Seabirds
    Trip Report 9/11/16 by Don Glasco: Nearshore Species (Monterey Harbor to Pt Pinos) Northern Pintail, Brandt’s Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant, Brown Pelican, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Black Turnstone, Heermann’s Gull, Western Gull, California Gull, Common Tern, Elegant Tern, Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon), Belted Kingfisher, Peregrine Falcon, Barn Swallow, Pigeon Guillemot   Pelagic Species (beyond Pt Pinos – Monterey County) Black-footed Albatross, Northern Fulmar, Sooty Shearwater, Pink-footed Shearwater, Black-vented Shearwater, Red-necked Phalarope, Red Phalarope, Pomarine Jaeger, Parasitic Jaeger, Long-tailed Jaeger, Common Murre, Cassin’s Auklet, Rhinoceros Auklet, Sabine’s Gull   Here are the eBird lists: http://ebird.org/ebird/sharedsubID=UzMxNTI1NzU0&s=t http://ebird.org/ebird/sharedsubID=UzMxNTI2OTgw&s=t http://ebird.org/ebird/sharedsubID=UzMxNTI2OTY2&s=t http://ebird.org/ebird/sharedsubID=UzMxNTI3OTAz&s=t http://ebird.org/ebird/sharedsubID=UzMxNTI4ODM3&s=t http://ebird.org/ebird/sharedsubID=UzMxNTMwNzYy&s=t http://ebird.org/ebird/sharedsubID=UzMxNTM1NTcw&s=t http://ebird.org/ebird/sharedsubID=UzMxNTM1NTc5&s=t http://ebird.org/ebird/sharedsubID=UzMxNTM1NDEz&s=t http://ebird.org/ebird/sharedsubID=UzMxNTM4MzEy&s=t   Trips Available for the remainder of 2016: September 15 th  7:30am-3:30pm (with Wisebirding) $110 per person October 1 st  7:30am-3:30pm  $110 per person October 9 th  7:30am-3:30pm  $110 per person October 15 th  7:30am-3:30pm  $110 per person October 23 rd  7:30am-3:30pm  $110 per person   We are still looking for trip leaders and spotters for the remainder of the year and for 2017. Please contact Katlyn Taylor at  mbwwassistant@...  if you are interested in helping out on the trips. Sign up for trips by calling 831-375-4658 or online at  www.montereyseabirds.com Thanks,
    Katlyn Taylor
    Monterey Seabirds
    -- 
    
    --
    Katlyn Taylor
    Marine Biologist
    Monterey Bay Whale Watch
    971-322-8425
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  17. An Ocean of Food LINK
    DATE: Aug 10, 2016 @ 5:23pm, 1 year(s) ago
    Howdy, CalBirders,
    
    Shearwater Journeys recently completed the first three pelagic trips of the fall season. Overall, the trips were highly productive. The sea surface temperatures are much lower than last year — in some instances by as much as ten degrees! Cold water is productive water. Lots of food is available for seabirds, including anchovies and krill. The marine mammal show has been astounding, especially at Monterey Bay and Half Moon Bay. Below, are some of the recent highlights.
    
    July 29 Monterey Bay we were in and out of fog most of the day.
    Highlights included: 21 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES; 5 PACIFIC FULMARS; 16 PINK-FOOTED and 2500 SOOTY SHEARWATERS; a WANDERING TATTLER was along the CG Breakwater; 6 SABINE’S GULLS; 620 COMMON MURRES; 10 PIGEON GUILLEMOTS; 125 CASSIN’S and 7 RHINOCEROS AUKLETS; and the star seabirds of the day — excellent views of 2 SCRIPPS’S MURRELETS sitting on the sea.
    Marine mammals included at least 20 HUMPBACKS, 4 BLUE, and 10 FIN WHALES; 100 NORTHERN RIGHT WHALE DOLPHINS; 200 PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHINS, 3 HARBOR PORPOISE.
    Leaders: Nick Levendosky, Will Brooks, Christian Schwarz, Alex Rinkert, Debi Shearwater.
    Counties covered: Monterey and Santa Cruz
    
    August 6 Half Moon Bay we had a bit of a swell, but no wind or fog.
    Highlights included: 1 LAYSAN and 30 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES; 3 PACIFIC FULMARS; 2075 SOOTY and 70 PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS; 3 WILSON’S, 8 FORK-TAILED, and 113 ASHY STORM-PETRELS; 18 SABINE’S GULLS; 7 ARCTIC TERNS; 1 LEAST TERN (along the shoreline near the harbor); 1579 COMMON MURRES; 21 PIGEON GUILLEMOTS; 1 SCRIPPS’S MURRELET on the sea with murres for comparison; 2385 CASSIN’S and 5 RHINOCEROS AUKLETS.
    Marine mammals included: 3 BLUE, 1 FIN, 80 HUMPBACK WHALES; 3 RISSO’S and 15 PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHINS; 15 HARBOR PORPOISE. Humpback whales were in view, breaching for at least five hours of our day, all across the horizons!
    Leaders: Peter Pyle, Mary Gustafson, Will Brooks, Steve Hampton, Debi Shearwater.
    Counties covered: San Mateo and San Francisco
    
    August 7 Farallon Islands from Sausalito we had an excellent day aboard our very stable catamaran despite some tough sea conditions. We did not venture out to the edge of the Continental Shelf due to the conditions, but enjoyed our time at Sugarloaf watching the Tufted Puffins. We pretty much hit the peak of “puffin season!”
    Highlights included: 1 FORK-TAILED STORM-PETREL (San Francisco County); 1 AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN (Marin County, soaring overhead in Sausalito harbor); 1 BLUE-FOOTED and 1 BROWN BOOBY, both sitting on SugarLoaf; 4606 COMMON MURRES; 109 PIGEON GUILLEMOTS; 37 CASSIN’S AUKLETS; 60 TUFTED PUFFINS .
    Marine mammals included: 5 HUMPBACKS; 5 HARBOR PORPOISE; 1000 CALIFORNIA and 7 STELLER’S SEA LIONS; 800 NORTHERN FUR SEALS; 60 HARBOR SEALS.
    Leaders: Gerry McChesney, Mary Gustafson, John Garrett, Debi Shearwater.
    Counties covered: Marin and San Francisco
    
    The Central Coast of California is teaming with seabirds and marine mammals! I expect that this will only get better with each passing day! It’s all about food — and, we got it! We also have a full program of trips coming up.
    
    HALF MOON BAY TRIPS & LEADERS:
    AUGUST 13 with Peter Pyle, Steve Tucker, Jim Holmes, Debi Shearwater
    AUGUST 19 with Steve Tucker, Todd McGrath, Christian Schwarz, Debi Shearwater
    SEPTEMBER 4 with Mary Gustafson, Steve Hampton, Russ Bradley, Debi Shearwater
    SEPTEMBER 16 with Steve Tucker, Jim Holmes, Steve Hampton, Abe Borker, Debi Shearwater
    SEPTEMBER 18 with Scott & Linda Terrill, Jim Holmes, Alex Rinkert, Steve Hampton, Debi Shearwater
    OCTOBER 2 with Steve Tucker, Steve Hampton, Jim Holmes, Debi Shearwater
    OCTOBER 8 with Steve Hampton, Abe Borker, Nick Levendosky, Tim Miller, Debi Shearwater
    
    MONTEREY BAY TRIPS & LEADERS:
    AUGUST 26 with Nick Levendosky, Alex Rinkert, Scott Terrill, Debi Shearwater
    SEPTEMBER 3 with Nick Levendosky, Mary Gustafson, Debi Shearwater
    SEPTEMBER 7 with Mary Gustafson, Christian Schwarz, Debi Shearwater
    SEPTEMBER 8 with Scott Terrill, Mary Gustafson, Christian Schwarz, Debi Shearwater
    SEPTEMBER 9 with Mary Gustafson, Debi Shearwater - going to Santa Cruz County
    SEPTEMBER 10 ALBACORE with Scott & Linda Terrill, Nick Levendosky, Alex Rinkert, Mary Gustafson, Debi Shearwater (* only 3 spaces open)
    SEPTEMBER 11 with Mary Gustafson, David Wimpfheimer, Debi Shearwater
    SEPTEMBER 14 with Scott Terrill, Rob Fowler, Debi Shearwater (* recently added trip)
    SEPTEMBER 15 with Nick Levendosky, Jim Holmes, Hannah Nevins, Debi Shearwater
    SEPTEMBER 23 with Nick Levendosky, Christian Schwarz, Debi Shearwater
    SEPTEMBER 24 with Scott & Linda Terrill, Alex Rinkert, Dena Spatz, Abe Borker, Tim Miller, Debi Shearwater
    SEPTEMBER 25 with Nick Levendosky, Abe Borker, Tim Miller, Debi Shearwater
    OCTOBER 1 with Jim Holmes, Nick Levendosky, Christian Schwarz, Alex Rinkert, Debi Shearwater
    OCTOBER 8 with Alex Rinkert, Tim Miller, Christian Schwarz, Debi Shearwater
    OCTOBER 16 with Scott & Linda Terrill, Nick Levendosky, Alex Rinkert, Debi Shearwater
    
    That’s a lot of trips and a lot of leaders — eager to show you a lot of seabirds and marine mammals!
    It’s all about food! And, we got lots of it this season!
    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 41 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater Journeys
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  19. 2nd Annual Island Scrub-Jay Pelagic LINK
    DATE: Dec 6, 2015 @ 8:48pm, 2 year(s) ago
    Hello Birders and offshore enthusiasts,
    This is a trip notice to inform those of you who are interested in seeing some of our southern California pelagic winter visitors and early returning specialty nesters. Late winter moving into spring can also bring in some potential migrants and vagrants! This trip was well received last year.
    
    The basics of the trip:
    Who: Island Packers - www.IslandPackers.com - (805)-642-1393
    What: 9hr +/- wildlife trip near Anacapa and to Santa Cruz Island. Highlights include a chance to look for the endemic Island Scub-Jay and do some pelagic birding! Birds are our focus but Seals, Sea Lions, Whales, and Dolphin are very likely too.
    When: February 27th 2016, a Saturday. Departs 8 am returns 5 pm.
    Where: Channel Islands Harbor, Oxnard, Ca
    Why: To see birds and marine mammals with some beautiful islands as our background.
    Price: $80 (low price + low number of passengers allowed = book ASAP if you can)
    
    Vessel: Vanguard 64’ monohull USCG inspected and licensed vessel with USCG licensed crew, a galley with snacks and drinks, beer and wine, and microwave ready foods. Or bring your own food and drink, we don’t mind! (Alcoholic beverages must be served by the crew though). We have two restrooms on board. This boat is a favorite for wildlife viewing by all the Crew at Island Packers because it has ample room for everyone along the railing and a superb upper deck viewing area for those who like the extra length of horizon that loftier elevations offer. We go slower (10-15 knots) but we see MORE. This trip is not trying to get to the continental shelf so we can afford to go slow and soak up the sights, sounds, smells, and birds.
    
    All of Island Packers boats have a galley and restrooms on board with friendly and knowledgeable crew. Island Packers has a terrific safety record and has been running boats in the Santa Barbara Channel since 1968!
    
    Book your trip at www.Island Packers.com. Click the Reserve Trip tab, then the special trips tab. If you prefer talking to someone call us with questions or make a reservation at this number (805)-642-1393
    
    If you are ready to book, read no further. If you need more info here is perhaps more than you wanted to know!
    
    Our lovely voyage departs Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard at 8 am (check in between 7-7:30 am) to ply the waters of the Santa Barbara Channel and the deep waters of the Hueneme canyon. Later we will be taking in up close views of the spectacular Anacapa Arch while we search this ripe area for Brown Boobies that have been congregating here lately. Anacapa also has been a great place to seek out American Oystercatchers albeit from a distance. Some of the birds that will just be starting their nesting season will be: Brown Pelicans, Western Gulls, Brandt’s, Pelagic, and Double-crested Cormorants, Pigeon Guillemots, Scripps’s Murrelets, Cassin’s Auklets, Ashy Storm Petrels (nocturnal at nesting sites), and possibly the local pairs of Peregrine Falcons and Bald Eagles.
    
    After Anacapa we motor through the Anacapa Passage separating the aforementioned island from Santa Cruz Island, home of the endemic Island Scrub-Jay. Breezing past some beautiful scenery we will arrive at Prisoner’s Harbor where we will disembark for a time to look for, and hopefully at, an Island Scrub-Jay or two. (BTW this is the only place in the world to see them) Note: Island Scrub-Jays are plentiful at this location but it can sometimes take an hour or two to find a confiding bird (for epic photos). Sightings are not guaranteed but are highly likely. We will budget and hour or two to allow everyone an opportunity to find this bird who would like to try. There is also good land birding at this location, 220+ species over the years and six localized endemic subspecies might be seen (Bewick’s Wren, Orange-crowned Warbler, Allen’s Hummingbird, Horned Lark, Loggerhead Shrike, and Rufous-crowned Sparrow. If you prize more than just birds there are nearly 150 endemic species in the Channel Islands National Park and sometimes the cute little endemic Island Fox will show up here and various endemic plants grow nearby.
    
    With the time left in the afternoon we will put the wind at our back for a generally smooth ride to the mainland. However, we will scour our path through the Santa Barbara Channel for some of the spectacular wildlife seen most days such as whales, dolphin, seals, sea lions, and of course BIRDS!
    
    On last years trip we saw the following highlights:
    Black-vented Shearwater
    Pink-footed Shearwater
    Pomarine Jaeger
    Parasitic Jaeger
    Common, Pacific, and Red-throated Loons
    Grebes of various types
    Surf Scoters
    White-winged Scoter
    Black Oystercatchers (local breeder)
    American Oystercatcher
    Brandt's, Pelagic, and Double-crested Cormorants (local breeders)
    Brown Pelicans (local breeder)
    A variety of gulls and terns
    Scripps's Murrelet (local breeder)
    Pigeon Guillemot (local breeder)
    Rhinoceros Auklet (uncommon local breeder)
    Cassin’s Auklet (local breeder)
    Common Murre (local breeder)
    Osprey
    Bald Eagle
    Peregrine Falcon
    
    I hope to see you aboard,
    Joel Barrett
    Island Packers, Ventura, Ca
    
    
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  21. Photos of odd (and normal) North Pacific murrelets LINK
    DATE: Nov 30, 2015 @ 3:06am, 2 year(s) ago
    Calbirders,
    
    I recently put together a set of images from the web of interesting-looking northern murrelets and a discussion of some identification material, with the intent of possibly posting it on ID-Frontiers. At present I think it may be of more concern or interest to the California birding community.
    
    I've also managed to finish sorting through my thousands of photos (mostly of empty waves; see below) from Big Lagoon Spit since 22 Nov and organize my notes and photos in three eBird checklists, each containing much commentary on the appearance of the murrelet-in-question:
    
    http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklistsubID=S26057908
    
    http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklistsubID=S26010804
    
    http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklistsubID=S26045612
    
    In sum after reviewing the entire set, my impression is that the short bill and short, chunky body favor Kittlitz's, while the mostly white face and tail could easily be due to leucism in a Marbled.
    
    Any thoughts or further observations of the eider are also of interest to me, as my elimination of Common is tenuous--this bird was also distant.
    
    Thanks. I'm glad to hear that some of you are coming up over the next week. The Arctic-breeding birds are pouring in and no small community could ever hope to cover all the flocks of scoters and gatherings of murrelets along the northwestern California coastline. It is a lot of work (and fun!) to cover just one spot, because there are so many birds scattered in amongst the wind-waves. On Big Lagoon Spit, there is no way to elevate oneself over even rather small waves, and it seems as though each bird appears for a split-second every 20-30 seconds on most days, making decent views and decent photography of distant specks very nearly impossible. Yet there are so many great birds around that you can't help picking through them for hours! It literally took me EIGHT HOURS to feel reasonable about having covered most of the nearshore birds along a half-mile stretch of this beach on Saturday.
    
    Tristan
    ...
    
    I've recently come across some intriguing and educational images of northern murrelets and would like to initiate some discussion of their traits and identifications. First of all, I want to thank the photographers for adding these images to our collective knowledge-base.
    
    Here is a 26 June Long-billed Murrelet photographed in Kamchatka by Raphaël Jordan with a distinct, almost Japanese Murrelet-like, white eyebrow:
    
    http://orientalbirdimages.org/birdimages.phpaction=birdspecies&Bird_ID=1000
    I assume this is leucism, since I don't see any other traits that might indicate hybridization().
    
    Maybe not unusual, but certainly obscure, a heavily worn apparent Japanese Murrelet in basic-like plumage:
    
    http://www.hkbws.org.hk/BBS/attachment.phpaid=866&noupdate=yes
    
    A great deal of good information is contained in Nial Moores' and Nick Lethaby's commentary on the latter bird at:
    
    http://www.hkbws.org.hk/BBS/viewthread.phptid=2340
    
    North American Brachyramphus are even more fun. Since Marbled was determined to be an old growth bird and then the realization that Kittlitz's was hit harder than any other seabird by Exxon Valdez (van Vliet and McAllister 1994), they have become two of the most heavily-studied seabirds in the world. Yet researchers identify only a modest percentage of individuals in areas of overlap, and little seems to have been written about identification by birders. Hodges and Kurchoff (2012) paint a disconcerting picture of the effects Marbled and Kittlitz's murrelet misidentification by researchers have on our understanding of their population trends. Most (not all) of the photos on the web appear to be correctly identified (with the exception of baby murres etc....), but this represents a small sample of birds seen up-close and with photos to ponder later.
    Mixed Marbled/Kittlitz's pairs and mixed groups are reported to be regular in Prince William Sound (e.g., Day and Nigro 2004), but hybridization has not been confirmed. In any case, Pitocchelli et al. (1995) estimated a mitochondrial sequence divergence of 4.4-5.0%, suggesting a divergence about 2.2 million years ago. (They found little mitochondrial or morphological divergence between tree and ground-nesting populations of Marbled Murrelets.)
    
    One interesting tidbit--Day et al. (2003) found eye size to be larger in Kittlitz's, which they believed to be an adaptation to the more turbid glacial waters preferred by that species; this might be useful in the field, as in shade vs. sun-dwelling Empids.
    
    Here is a bird photographed on 29 June by Ron Niebrugge on Prince William Sound, Alaska, with a rather slender face and bill and nearly solid warm dark brown upperparts (e.g., Marbled-like), but with a pretty standard Kittlitz's facial pattern; if hybrids exist, I would imagine them much like this:
    
    http://www.wildnatureimages.com/search/index.phpmodule=media&pId=102&id=17287
    
    The first and most prevalent image that appears when you type "murrelet" into google is, as the photographer and long-time murrelet guru Gus van Vliet tells me, "an aberrant MAMU here in Auke Bay... in basic plumage in late spring...still trying to molt into alternate". It has a lot of white behind the eye for a Marbled:
    
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marbled_murrelet#/media/File:WO_2087_Marbled_Murrelet.jpg
    
    Here is a Marbled photo from Monterey, California by Roger Wolfe that seems to indicate a medium-gray back and hindneck, some white above the eye, and the appearance of a white tail (somewhat overexposed, however):
    
    http://www.montereyseabirds.com/SeabirdPhotos/MarbledMurrelet.htm
    
    Another Marbled with a medium-gray back, photographed by Glen Tepke:
    
    http://www.arkive.org/marbled-murrelet/brachyramphus-marmoratus/image-G28906.html
    
    Here are a nearly basic-plumaged Kittlitz's and another transitional one on 12 June at Dutch Harbor, Alaska, photographed by Aaron Land, either SY birds or simply reflecting the late prealternate molt (Sealy 1977); note the appearance of a cap spilling over the eye on the darker bird:
    
    http://www.birdingak.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/kittlitzs-murrlet-web.jpg
    
    Here's another photo from 12 June in Adak, Alaska by Ray Duffy with a similar facial pattern:
    
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/rayduffy/18977974539/
    
    Here's a young Kittlitz's photographed by Robin Corcoran on 8 August in Tonki Bay, Alaska. These often seem to be very dark in front of the eye and somewhat Pigeon Guillemot-like. I thought it was interesting how the thick black partial eyering of basic plumage (and often alternate as well) seems to show through the duskiness and extend farther around the back of the eye than in basic plumage:
    
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/robin_corcoran/7964189420/
    
    It appears that very young Kittlitz's may not always display the distinctive head structure of adults, which have thick neck, a flat crown, and a vertically thick anterior face that merges smoothly with a short triangular bill, or even bulges due a slight knob above the upper mandible and an often convex ("chubby") curve to the chin. By comparison, Marbled and some young Kittlitz's have thinner bills that seem to protrude more because of their more rounded crowns and more slender chins--giving them a more bird-like, less bizarre outline.
    
    For me, this Marbled photographed in Alaska on 18 May by Kevin Karlson takes the cake as far as intermediate-looking birds are concerned. Notice the both the structure and the pattern of the face. Here the thick black partial eyering of Kittlitz's almost appears again (perhaps an ancestral trait). After many years of picking through hundreds of standard-looking Marbleds in California (in the fruitless pursuit of Long-billed), it was hard for me to accept that Marbleds can look like this:
    
    http://kevinkarlsonphotography.com/gallery/v/seabirds/Marbled+Murrelet_+nonbr_+AK_+May.jpg.html
    
    Brachyramphus--at least here in California--love that inaccessible zone just far enough from shore to make details difficult to discern from land, yet just near enough to be in difficult water for boats to navigate. With even small-boat-based researchers in Alaska leaving so many unidentified, it is difficult to speculate on the exact limits of variation and especially the origins of birds that seem intermediate. I'd greatly appreciate discussion of the identifications of the birds above, the frequency within their respective species of the odd attributes depicted, and general interpretations of plumage and structural variation in murrelets or alcids in general.
    
    Literature cited:
    
    Day et al. (2003): http://aoucospubs.org/doi/pdf/10.1642/0004-8038%282003%29120%5B0680%3AESAOOB%5D2.0.CO%3B2
    
    Day and Nigro (2004): http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1675/1524-4695(2004)027[0089:ITKMER]2.0.CO;2
    
    Hodges and Kurchoff (2012): http://www.marineornithology.org/PDF/40_2/40_2_117-120.pdf
    
    Pitocchelli et al. (1995): http://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/wilson/v107n02/p0235-p0250.pdf
    
    Sealy (1977): https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/wilson/v089n03/p0467-p0469.pdf
    
    van Vliet and McAllister (1994): http://www.pacificseabirdgroup.org/publications/PacificSeabirds/VOL_21_2.PDF
    
    Tristan McKee
    Arcata, CA
    
    
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  23. October 10 pelagic trip from Ventura LINK
    DATE: Oct 12, 2015 @ 10:17pm, 2 year(s) ago
    Yesterday, Island Packers hosted a 10-hour pelagic trip out of Ventura on the Island Adventure. We had great weather (other than a little too much heat in places) and sea conditions, and were able to cover a lot of ocean. We headed west from Ventura through the Santa Barbara Channel, then headed south through the Santa Cruz Passage and across the deepest part of the Santa Cruz Basin to Sutil Rock and Santa Barbara Island. From there we returned to Ventura via the Pilgrim Bank.
    
    Highlights included several large rafts of storm-petrels over 6,000 feet of water in the Santa Cruz Basin. We were able to spend time with these birds and get very satisfying views of Black (1,000) and Least (200) Storm-Petrels and a few elusive Ashy Storm-Petrels. Other uncommon species included a pair of Craveri's Murrelets that we had in view for a few minutes, over 100 Brown Boobies including 85+ on Sutil Rock in the late afternoon, two South Polar Skuas over the Santa Cruz Canyon, and several Sabine's Gulls over the Santa Cruz Basin. Other
    pelagic birds included Black-vented, Pink-footed, and Sooty
    Shearwaters; Northern Fulmars; Pomarine, Parasitic, and Long-tailed Jaegers; Red and Red-necked
    Phalaropes; Cassin's and Rhinoceros Auklets; Common Murres; and a few late in the season Pigeon Guillemots. Mammals
    included Humpback Whales, Long-beaked and Short-beaked Common
    Dolphins, Risso's Dolphins, Offshore Bottlenose Dolphins, and a Pacific White-sided Dolphin.
    
    Island
    Packers does a great job on these trips and all of the pelagics they
    have offered in the last few years have been great successes. I would like to thank Captain Jimmy McWaters, Joel Barrett, and Laurie Van Stee from Island Packers for all their hard work on yesterday's trip. In addition, a big round of thanks goes out to the leaders for sharing their seabird and marine mammal expertise including Jon Feenstra, Peter Gaede, Adam Searcy, Hugh Ranson, Steve Tucker, and Bernardo Alps. We will work on getting more trips scheduled from Ventura and Santa Barbara in 2016.
    
    Cheers
    
    Dave Pereksta
    Ventura
    
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  25. October 4 Half Moon Bay Pelagic Trip LINK
    DATE: Oct 6, 2015 @ 11:24am, 2 year(s) ago
    Howdy, CALBirders,
    Shearwater Journeys' October 4, 2015 pelagic trip departing from Half Moon Bay turned out to be a fabulous day. Folks who joined us on both this trip and the Monterey Bay trip, October 3rd, added a number of new species for their total list. These included: WILSON'S STORM-PETREL (3, excellent views), FORK-TAILED STORM-PETREL (1, excellent views), SOUTH POLAR SKUA (1), and MARBLED MURRELETS (7).
    
    Additional highlights included a scattering of both ASHY and BLACK STORM-PETRELS; NORTHERN/PACIFIC FULMAR; BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS; an offshore PEREGRINE FALCON; a late, or wintering PIGEON GUILLEMOT; CASSIN'S and RHINOCEROS AUKLETS.
    
    Marine mammal highlights included: 1200 LONG-BEAKED COMMON DOLPHINS traveling in one gigantic herd (herds of up to 10,000 are not unknown in Southern California); 3 HUMPBACK WHALES and 2 STELLER'S SEA LIONS.
    
    A great many of the birders made both trips this past weekend with Shearwater Journeys. Those who did wracked up a long list of seabirds and marine mammals. Many thanks to the birders who joined us! The leaders on this pelagic trip were: Steve Hampton, Will Brooks, Alex Rinkert, Annie Schmidt, Christian Schwarz, and Debi Shearwater.
    
    UPCOMING TRIPS:
    2 SPACES are available on out OCTOBER 11 HALF MOON BAY trip. Spaces are available on our OCTOBER 10 MONTEREY BAY trip.
    Please email me for a reservation.
    
    The complete species list for October 4, 2015 Half Moon Bay follows:
    
    RED-THROATED LOON- 3
    PACIFIC LOON- 1
    EARED GREBE- 20
    WESTERN GREBE- 30
    BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS- 3
    NORTHERN/PACIFIC FULMAR- 35
    PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER- 300
    SOOTY SHEARWATER- 100
    SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER- 2
    WILSON'S STORM-PETREL- 3
    FORK-TAILED STORM-PETREL- 1
    ASHY STORM-PETREL- 25
    BLACK STORM-PETREL- 35
    BROWN PELICAN- 2000
    BRANDT'S CORMORANT- 1000
    DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT- 500
    SURF SCOTER- 30
    BLUE-WINGED TEAL- 7
    BLACK OYSTERCATCHER- 7
    WHIMBREL- 1
    MARBLED GODWIT- 3
    BLACK TURNSTONE- 15
    SURFBIRD- 12
    WILLET- 10
    RED-NECKED PHALAROPE- 10
    RED PHALAROPE- 15
    SOUTH POLAR SKUA- 1
    POMARINE JAEGER- 2
    PARASITIC JAEGER- 4
    CALIFORNIA GULL- 50
    HERRING GULL- 2
    WESTERN GULL- 250
    GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL- 1
    ELEGANT TERN- 80
    COMMON MURRE- 650
    PIGEON GUILLEMOT- 1
    MARBLED MURRELET- 7
    CASSIN'S AUKLET- 20
    RHINOCEROS AUKLET- 3
    PEREGRINE FALCON- 1
    WARBLER SP. - 1
    AMERICAN PIPIT- 1
    WESTERN MEADOWLARK- 1
    SEA OTTER- 1
    CALIFORNIA SEA LION- 50
    STELLER'S SEA LION- 2
    HUMPBACK WHALE- 3
    LONG-BEAKED COMMON DOLPHIN- 1200
    OCEAN SUNFISH- 10
    SHARK SP.- 2
    
    A gale had blown through the area the night prior to this trip. Seas were subsiding throughout the day — so much so that we looked, again, for the marbled murrelets in the afternoon with great success! Again, the high swell made it all but impossible to search for flocks of storm-petrels, but we enjoyed close views of the storm-petrels we did find!
    
    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 40 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater Journeys
    
    
  26. -back to top-
  27. BODEGA BAY: SEP 18 LINK
    DATE: Sep 20, 2015 @ 8:33pm, 2 year(s) ago
    Howdy, CAL Birders,
    Highlights of Shearwater Journeys' pelagic trip departing from Bodega Bay September 18, 2015 included: 21 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS; 3 BULLER'S SHEARWATERS (thin this season); close views of WILSON'S (6), FORK-TAILED (25), ASHY (100), BLACK (70) STORM-PETRELS; JAEGER GRAND SLAM: POMARINE (15), PARASITIC (2), LONG-TAILED (2); SOUTH POLAR SKUA (2); SABINE'S GULL (5- thin numbers this season); COMMON TERN (1), ARCTIC TERN (7- thin numbers this season); COMMON MURRE (600); PIGEON GUILLEMOT (4- most have departed for the north); CASSIN'S AUKLET (6) and RHINOCEROS AUKLET (6).
    
    The "star" seabird of the day was a solitary, flyby, GUADALUPE MURRELET captured digitally by Steve Tucker!
    
    HUMPBACK WHALES, LONG-BEAKED and SHORT-BEAKED COMMON DOLPHINS, RISSO'S DOLPHINS, and DALL'S PORPOISE were the cetacean highlights of a bouncy day at sea!
    
    The leaders on this sold out trip were: Peter Pyle, Chris Wood, Jessie Barry, Steve Howell, Abe Borker, Steve Tucker, Nick Levendosky, and Debi Shearwater. They don't call it "blow-dega" bay for nothn'!
    
    I've had a lot of requests for upcoming trips. So, I am listing the trips and leaders, below.
    
    SEP 25, MONTEREY with Abe Borker, Rick Fournier
    SEP 26, MONTEREY  with Scott Terrill, Linda Terrill, Tim Miller
    SEP 27, MONTEREY with Joel Barrett, Nick Levendosky, Alex Rinkert
    OCT 3, MONTEREY with Scott Terrill, Linda Terrill, Dena Spatz, Tim Miller, Alex Rinkert, Jennifer Green
    OCT 4, HALF MOON BAY with Scott Terrill, Linda Terrill, Annie Schmidt, Steve Hampton, Christian Schwarz, Alex Rinkert, Will Brooks (only 3 spaces available)
    OCT 10 MONTEREY with Todd McGrath, David Vander Pluym, Lauren Harter, Alex Rinkert, Jennifer Green
    OCT 11 HALF MOON BAY with Todd McGrath, Jim Holmes, Tim Miller, Will Brooks, David Vander Pluym, Lauren Harter, Marissa Ortega-Welch
    OCT 18 FARALLON ISLANDS GREAT WHITE SHARK SEARCH with Gerry McChesney, Peter Pyle, Jim Holmes, Steve Tucker (6 spaces available).
    
    Reservations: I can only be reached by email at this time: debi@....
    
    The Monterey Bay Birding Festival runs from September 25-27. However, one does not need to be registered for the festival in order to participate in the pelagic trips on those days.
    
    Truly 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 40 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater Journeys
    
    
  28. -back to top-
  29. SEP 10 Another Day on Monterey Bay LINK
    DATE: Sep 11, 2015 @ 5:33pm, 2 year(s) ago
    Howdy, CALBirders,
    Shearwater Journeys had another wonderful day on Monterey Bay with seabirds and marine mammals galore, today, September 10th.
    
    A single PIGEON GUILLEMOT was in the harbor immediately behind our boat before we departed from the dock. Most guillemots have already departed from our area. Very nearshore Monterey was foggy with lots of SOOTY, PINK-FOOTED, and BLACK-VENTED SHEARWATERS close in. As soon as we hit Point Pinos, the fog lifted. We headed off the point to the edge of the Submarine Canyon.
    
    Offshore, we encountered a commercial fishing vessel which had thrown its bycatch fish overboard, creating an oily slick at least one quarter mile long. Most of the discarded fish were grenadiers. Some 50+ BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES were sitting on the slick, eating the discarded fish, along with many NORTHERN FULMARS and PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS. While counting albatrosses, a BROWN BOOBY flew in, making a quick pass. It did not stick around. However, the LAYSAN ALBATROSS snuck in under our noses and sat down with the black-footed albatrosses, nearly unnoticed, except by our captain! Today, we had excellent views of the LAYSAN ALBATROSS. In fact, we saw that it was banded. The leaders were able to photograph the band, get the number, and get the information on this individual: BANDED FEBRUARY 2010 at GUADALUPE ISLAND, MEXICO! We sat on this slick for at least an hour. During that time, several FORK-TAILED and ASHY STORM-PETRELS made close passes to our vessel.
    
    We encountered many of the same seabirds we had seen on our previous trips: RED and RED-NECKED PHALAROPES; POMARINE and PARASITIC JAEGERS (no long-tails today); SABINE'S GULL; COMMON MURRE; RHINOCEROS AUKLET. Some folks on board have made all three trips with us during the past three days and commented on how different each trip has been. We covered both Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties.
    
    We 'only' saw 61 HUMPBACK WHALES, some of them lunge-feeding, tail-slapping, and pectoral flipper-slapping. LONG-BEAKED COMMON DOLPHINS are still present in large herds. We tallied some 1500.
    
    Spaces are still available on many trips this season. Please see our schedule at: http://www.shearwaterjourneys.com/schedule.shtml
    
    See you out there!
    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 40 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater Journeys
    
    
  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'.