San Diego - Coronados Islands - Nine Mile Bank November 3, 2009
By Terry Hunefeld
Tom Blackman, Pete Ginsburg and I met Dave Povey at Shelter Island at 6:00 a.m. Tuesday November 3 to go see what we could see at sea in between fog banks.
Heading out of the harbor we saw 7 Black Oystercatchers at Ballast Point accompanied by what appeared to be a “Jehl-test-passable” AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER plus another oystercatcher with lots of white in the belly but more marked than the former, an apparent hybrid American/Black Oystercatcher.
We headed south into Mexican waters and intersected the deep Coronado Canyon just south of the border where we encountered flocks of dozens of Cassin’s Auklets and Black-vented Shearwaters, a couple of Northern Fulmars and a couple Pink-footed Shearwaters, a Brown Booby and a fast, sneaky Minke Whale.
We turned northwest heading along the top of the Nine Mile Bank back into U.S. waters counting dozens more Cassin’s and Black-venteds until we came across about a dozen Northern Fulmars.
Several fulmars at a time joined the gull fray at the back of the boat sampling popcorn. We’ve noted in the past that fulmars tend to turn up their noses at popcorn, so these animals may have been hungry. It was difficult to ascertain an accurate count of the fulmars as they were mostly grey (with a few mottleds/intermediates and one light morph); we seemed to have several around the boat or in the wake the entire time we were near the Nine Mile or Coronado Canyon. We estimate a total of 18 – 24 for the day.
We turned around and headed back south, following the bank back into Mexican waters. Back over the Coronado Canyon we again found ourselves surrounded by large flocks consisting of dozens of Cassin’s and Black-venteds. Many of the auklets had a hard time getting airborne, evidently stuffed with the abundant krill we could see in the water and on Dave’s fish-finder.
We came across a couple of Humpback Whales feeding on the plentiful food supply over Coronado Canyon.
Over the canyon we watched a Peregrine Falcon continually stooping on Cassin’s Auklets. On the fifth try, it came up with one.
Two more Brown Boobies came to investigate us while over the canyon, about 6 miles north of the islands.
At Middle (Booby) Rock at Islas Los Coronados we counted 35 Brown Boobies. No downy juveniles were noted. One pair evidently was exchanging nesting material. 35 may be our high count for Middle Rock.
Oystercatchers Zuniga Jetty (c) W. Terry Hunefeld
Coming back into the harbor at about 2:30 we found a Black and the seemingly pretty good AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER on the Zuniga Jetty.
Common Loon 4 Pacific Loon 2 Western Grebe 1 (dead) Eared Grebe 3 NORTHERN. FULMAR 18 - 24 Pink-footed Shearwater 4 Black-vented Shearwater 650 Brown Booby 39: 4 at sea, 35 on the Middle Rk colony Brown Pelican 45 at sea, 100 in S.D. Bay, 30 at the Islands Brandt's Cormorant 60 at sea, 400 in S.D. Bay, 100 at the Islands D.c. Cormorant 5 S.D. Bay Pelagic Cormorant 1 Islands Osprey 2 Peregrine Falcon 1 Lower Nine Mile Bank, hunting Cassin's Auklets successfully 1-2 at Middle Rock may have been the same one. Western Gull 100 at sea, 150 S.D. Bay, 50 at Islands Calif. Gull 25 at sea Heermann's Gull 30 at sea, 75 in S.D. Bay, 10 Islands Bonaparte's Gull 2 at sea Royal Tern 3 S.D. Bay, 1 at sea, 2 at Coronado Is. AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER 1 “pure” + 1 hybrid at Ballast Pt. 6:30 a.m.; one hybrid at Zuniga Jetty at 2:30 p.m. BLACK OYSTERCATCHER 7 Ballast Pt. at 6:30 a.m., 1 at Middle Rock., 4 at Zuniga Jetty at 2:30 p.m. Whimbrel 1 at Ballast Point Willet 1 at Ballast Point Spotted Sandpiper 2; one at Ballast Point, one at the bait docks Black Turnstone 4-5 at Ballast Point Red Phalarope 1 a mile north of Middle Rock Phalarope sp. 3 (?) Cassin's Auklet 500 Pomarine Jaeger 1 Parasitic Jaeger 1 Belted Kingfisher 1 S.D. Bay Black Phoebe 1 N. Coronado Is. Say's Phoebe 1 N. Coronado Is. House Finch 4-6 Middle Rock
Humpback Whale 2 Minke Whale 1 Common Dolphin 10-12 Pacific White-sided Dolphin 3-5 California Sea Lion 25 Harbor Seal 3-4 Mola Mola 2
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