The warm sun shone upon nearly 100 birders today as they sailed out of Oceanside Harbor into calm waters for a 3-hour tour sponsored by the Buena Vista Audubon. Almost immediately the call of "Pom Jaeger!" went up as a morning began of witnessing the interaction of jaegers, terns, shearwaters and gulls, i.e. shearwaters, terns and gulls catching fish, jaegers chasing shearwaters, terns and gulls.
This season's "invasion" of Rhinoceros Auklets was very much in evidence as we totaled 45, in stark contrast with some years totaling zero all season. Other alcids: 2 fairly close Cassin's Auklets were seen with another 6 and one Common Murre too distant to be seen by many.
3 "dark" shearwaters were sighted (read: Sooty or Short-tailed). One was positively identified as a Short-tailed by its uniform medium-grey underwings and a soaring, banking, erratic non-sooty flight style; it banked within 100 feet of the boat. Other tubenoses included 3 Northern Fulmar (2 dark and a light morph) that came by to dine on our popcorn chum.
During the course of the morning we saw several small flocks of 6-10 Bonaparte's Gulls, and 8 Red Phalarope. Jaegers were seen well by all, 6 Pomarine and 6 Parasitic, pretty much all engaged in chasing prey or finding prey to chase.
Mammals included a pod of 20 Common Dolphin, a pod 6 Bottlenose Dolphin and a spouting Gray Whale that surfaced 5 or 6 times within several hundred feet of the boat for great looks by all aboard.
In short, a fun morning of birds, marine mammals, old friends and new ones.
A special thanks from the Buena Vista Audubon Society to Andy Mauro for organizing this whole affair. Without his idea and hard work, this would not have happened.
Thanks to Trent Stanley, here's our GPS tracklog overlaid on a Google Satellite image. It also shows Trent's short jaunt to Buddy Todd Park afterwards to see crossbills and an Orchard Oriole http://www.sdbirder.com/photos/247907552-O.jpg
A FUN MORNING AT SEA: We'll head out on Saturday morning in search of jaeger, shearwater, dolphin and whales. You do not need be a member of the Audubon to participate.
1 Short-tailed Shearwater 331 Black-vented Shearwater 2 dark shearwater sp 3 Northern Fulmar 8 Red Phalarope 59 Bonaparte's Gull 15 Royal Tern 6 Parasitic Jaeger 6 Pomarine Jaeger 1 Common Murre 45 Rhino Auklet 8 Cassin's Auklet
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