Friday, August 2, 2013

Monterey Pelagic for Hawaii(an)

Today, 8/2/2013 I attended the first pelagic trip out of Monterey Bay of the year. This trip was run by no other than the world-famous Shearwater Journeys and was stocked full of great leaders. This was a fantastic day to be out on the bay, with just enough chop to keep the birds active.

I was the/a designated chummer so I spent all my time at the back of the boat throwing frozen fish and stale popcorn to keep birds around the boat. It didn't take long before we had a good gathering of gulls following us. We started kicking up Sooty Shearwaters, and then the first Jaeger of the day, a Pomarine sporting some serious spoonage.

Pomarine Jaeger
It didn't take too long before the Black-footed Albatross took an interest in the boat. They stuck with us all day. Things were going well. Not long after everyone got their Albatross buzz, I saw Debi out of the corner of my eye make a quick movement to center of the back of the boat. Then a shot of "HAWAIIAN PETREL!!!!" and everyone was now watching this endangered Pterodroma put on a show. As far as Pterodroma go, it was very cooperative and everyone celebrated!

Hawaiian Petrel
Hawaiian Petrel
Hawaiian Petrel
The Hawaiian Petrel, apart from being incredibly rare in the ABA Area, is one of the species the American Bird Conservancy is working to preserve in Hawaii. This species is at risk of becoming extinct. Feral cats and mongoose are known to predate the eggs, young and adults. The American Bird Conservancy is working on a fence to keep out predators. Now you can see why Hawaiian bird conservation is so important! Consider pledging to support the American Bird Conservancy and their effort in Hawaii. Pledges can be made here.

More and more birds continued to show themselves as we got further and further offshore. One Northern Fulmar passed by quickly. Phalaropes, mostly Red-necked but a few Red, were seen. A Long-tailed Jaeger passed by the boat, but later a Parasitic, my last Jaeger for the year! Phew!

Parasitic Jaeger
Right after the Parasitic Jaeger flew by, the captain yelled out Sabine's Gull. It never came close, so the pictures aren't great, but the views onboard weren't bad.

Sabine's Gull
Activity slowed a little in the afternoon, but a Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel made a quick pass behind the boat to jazz things up and keep observers vigilant.

We also enjoyed marine mammals. A few Humpback Whales were enjoyed by all. A couple species of Dolphin came to check us out as well. Debi will have a more complete report on her blog. I sincerely thank Shearwater Journeys for giving me the opportunity to attend this trip.

What an incredible trip, one I certainly won't be forgetting! My only regret is that I will be leaving the Great Basin soon and won't be able to do any more pelagics in the near future! In fact, this may be my last one this year. We will see...

1 comment:

  1. David,

    Really nice images and congratulations on what sounds like a great year! If you have an iPhone or iPad let me know and I'll send you BirdsEye and BirdLog.

    It would be great to have good photos of Hawaiian Petrel for BirdsEye. WOuld you consider contributing a photo? It could be a good way to get exposure for your project this year, because we would not only display your name with every image but also a URL.

    If you're interested: or you can email me at