The first trip of our weekend "double-header" pulled out of Point Loma Sportfishing marina at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday. Our destinations: the 9-Mile Bank and the Coronados Islands.
We were seeing Sooty Shearwaters before 8:00 a.m. and Black Storm-petrels by 8:30. Our first Pink-footed Shearwater was seen at 8:49,followed shortly by 4 Xantus Murrelets. The rest of the morning was filled with fulmars, murrelets, auklets, jaegers, Shearwaters,phalaropes, loons, terns, and, in Mexican waters, a BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS, 19 BROWN BOOBIES and 6 ELEPHANT SEALS.
We pulled into the marina at 3:30 p.m. to drop off some of our passengers and pick up a few more. Many of us enjoyed fresh, hot delicious seafood dinners at the outdoor picnic tables of Point Loma Seafoods while the crew cleaned the boat before heading out on the "double-overnighter" portion of our double-header at 4:30 p.m.
Aa we approached the 9-mile bank for the second time, we were surprised to find an ANCIENT MURRELET and, a few minutes later, an early, close-to-shore (about ten miles west of Point Loma) SOUTH POLAR SKUA. We arrived at the 9-mile Bank in the early evening, surrounded by dozens of Sooty Shearwaters and clouds of HUNDREDS of BLACK STORM-PETRELS. We stayed on the 9-mile until dark and were treated to the grand prize of the evening: a San Diego County BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS. 3 Sabine's Gulls flew by at sunset, and, just before dark we were treated to another SOUTH POLAR SKUA before heading to our bunks after a VERY full day at sea.
We awoke Sunday morning near the Tanner Bank (about 100 miles west of Point Loma) to find Yellow, Townsend's and Wilson's Warblers about the boat along with cowbirds and doves.
We spent all Sunday in deep-water, finding rich diversity, including RED-BILLED TROPICBIRD, Lesser Nighthawk, FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER, Greater Yellowlegs, PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER, 4 Townsend's Warblers, 25 NORTHERN FULMAR, 2 Mourning Doves, 2 LAYSAN ALBATROSSES, a Common Yellowthroat, 2 ARCTIC TERNS, an Orange-crowned Warbler, 2 Fin Whales, 4 Wilson's Warblers, a rare Cubier Whale, Xantus's Murrelets and a Bullock's Oriole.
More Sabine's Gulls flew by at sunset. We enjoyed a great dinner (and beers) in Grande's spacious salon, then were treated to dozens (hundreds by morning) of Red Phalaropes attracted to Grande's lights before heading to our bunks. We awoke at 4:30 a.m. Monday morning to the beautiful lights of Point Loma, arriving at the dock at 5:00.
There really is nothing like being at sea overnight. You get to witness sunrise and sunset `out there' where it's all happening. No email, no TV, no computers, no cell phones, no traffic. Just you, a couple dozen other Seabirders, and the sea. It's magical.
And now, the lists. A big thank you to Jon Feenstra for compiling and entering into eBird.
San Diego to Nine Mile Bank to the islands and our return Saturday morning 5/10/08
Pacific Loon 3 Black-footed Albatross 1 Northern Fulmar 3 Pink-footed Shearwater 7 Sooty Shearwater 75 Black Storm-Petrel 2 Brown Booby 1 Brown Pelican 100 Brandt's Cormorant 10 Double-crested Cormorant 2 Red-necked Phalarope 250 Red Phalarope 2 Western Gull 60 Least Tern 28 Pomarine Jaeger 1 Xantus's Murrelet 24 Cassin's Auklet 65 Rhinoceros Auklet 1 Orange-crowned Warbler 1
Islas Los Coronados Saturday Morning 5/10/08
Brown Booby 18 Brown Pelican 800 Brandt's Cormorant 100 Double-crested Cormorant 10 Pelagic Cormorant 2 American x Black Oystercatcher (hybrid) 2 Black Oystercatcher 5 Wandering Tattler 1 Western Gull 500 House Finch 1
San Diego to the Nine Mile Bank – all San Diego County Saturday afternoon 5/10/08
Brant 1 Pacific Loon 3 Black-footed Albatross 1 Northern Fulmar 2 Pink-footed Shearwater 7 Sooty Shearwater 105 Black-vented Shearwater 2 Leach's Storm-Petrel 2 Black Storm-Petrel 430 Red-necked Phalarope 140 Red Phalarope 5 California Gull 1 Western Gull 95 Sabine's Gull 4 Forster's Tern 3 Elegant Tern 2 South Polar Skua 2 Pomarine Jaeger 3 Xantus's Murrelet 5 Ancient Murrelet 1 Cassin's Auklet 18 Rhinoceros Auklet 1 Barn Swallow 1
Tanner & Cortez Bank Deep Water Sunday 5/11/08 Los Angeles (LA) and Ventura (V) Counties.
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