I knew July 21st was a bit early in the season for a pelagic trip, but I've had good luck on other early season pelagics, and even the normal cast of characters would be new photo birds. As we made our way through the harbor, Surfbirds and a Wandering Tattler were fun to see. Once we got out a little ways we saw our first Sooty Shearwaters, of which there would be many more.
Our destination was Pioneer Canyon where there is deep, deep water. We were able to make it their without a problem.
On our way out, a Manx Shearwater was seen by most of the people in the back of the boat. By the time I made my way there, it was only a small shearwater on the horizon. This is a rare bird for California.
As it is late and I have to get up early for work tomorrow, I'll give you a quick run down of some of the highlights.
Alcids: We did well here, better than I expected anyway. Pigeon Guillemots and Rhinoceros Auklets were around, as can be expected, but we also found some Scripp's Murrelets. I personally saw at least 3 birds. One pair and a single bird on our way back. The pair was insanely cooperative. Common Murres and Cassin's Auklets were also seen.
|Scripp's Murrelet underwing|
|Black-footed Albatross (and a Northern Fulmar) feast on the "chum-sicle"|
I feel very lucky to get a spot on the trip and with the great birds we found. The leaders and Alvaro himself were great at making sure everyone got on the birds. The captain did an absolutely wonderful job of finding and staying with the birds. If you are considering a pelagic trip out of California, I'd suggest you look into Alvaro's Adventures!
I'd also like to thank those who have pledged for this photographic big year. When I started this big year, I had no idea what to expect. It is great to see people supporting conservation. If you haven't pledged there is still plenty of time, and all pledges are 100% TAX DEDUCTIBLE! At the end of the year, all pledges will go directly to the American Bird Conservancy for Hawaiian bird conservation. See this page for more information.
It has been a great year so far, and there is still plenty of birding to do! Keep checking back for updates.