No sooner were we out of San Diego harbor than 60 participants watched a Parasitic Jaeger pursue a tern up, down , sideways and upside down in an amazing display of aerial acrobatics.
By all accounts, Saturday’s maiden pelagic-birding charter from San Diego on the 85 foot live-aboard Grande was a smashing success featuring 5 flavors of tubenoses, 3 species of alcids, nearly two-dozen boobies, 14 Gray Whales, 8 species of gulls, both jaegers (putting on shows), hundreds of Common Dolphin and dozens of Pacific White-sided Dolphin.
We had just pulled away from the Point Loma Sportfishing landing, and – holy cow! – a White-winged Scoter.
Grande zig-zagged out to the Nine-mile Bank following feeding frenzies along the way. Throughout the morning we enjoyed close-up looks at multiple Northern Fulmar, Pink-footed, Sooty, Black-vented and Short-tailed Shearwaters. Full-spooned Pomarine Jaegers were in abundance.
Following the bank down into Mexico and south across Coronado Canyon we found our first Xantus's Murrelets. The aromatic scents of the Chum-O-Matic coaxed more shearwater, fulmar and a booby to the boat even before we reached the Coronados Islands where we found 20 more Brown Boobies and 22 oystercatchers (including one hybrid).
On the return trip from the islands, the popcorn-gorging gull flock lured a Brown Booby to within 3 miles of the U.S. border.
Highlight of the day included:
A booby repeatedly pacing the boat 10 to 15 feet above delighted onlookers on the stern.
A Gray Whale that surfaced unexpectedly 15 feet off the starboard side of Grande.
Incredible close-up views of Pink-footed Shearwaters.
Rhino auklets everywhere.
Three fulmar at a time circling the boat (they could SMELL that Chum-O-Matic chum and WANTED IT).
Hundreds of Common Dolphin completely surrounding the boat, leaping out of the water.
The biggest mola-mola that many of us had EVER seen.
Multiple Short-tailed Shearwater twisting and banking.
The weather was warm, breezy and sunny. Many participants made use of Grande's generous outdoor seating, enjoying the fresh breezes and sunshine. Others lounged in Grande's comfortable salon enjoying the mouthwatering hamburgers and burritos being served up by the galley.
THE MEXICO (BAJA NORTE) LIST 4 Surf Scoter 7 Northern Fulmar 3 Pink-footed Shearwater 4 Sooty Shearwater 3 Short-tailed Shearwater 4 Sooty/Short-tailed Shearwater 21 Brown Booby 750 Brown Pelican 1100 Brandt's Cormorant 1 Double-crested Cormorant 5 Pelagic Cormorant 1 American Kestrel 1 Peregrine Falcon 1 Red Phalarope 21 Black Oystercatcher 1 Hybrid Am/Black Oystercatcher 2 Bonaparte's Gull 3 Heermann's Gull 1 Mew Gull 2 American Herring Gull 10 California Gull 1500 Western Gull 2 Glaucous-winged Gull 6 Elegant Tern 2 Pomarine Jaegers 9 Xantus's Murrelet 2 Cassin's Auklet 35 Rhinoceros Auklets 1 House Finch
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