PTERODROMA CHASE SAN JUAN SEAMOUNT CONDOR EXPRESS - Santa Barbara Sponsored By: Los Angeles Audubon Society & Condor Cruises Saturday, May 1, 2010 7:00 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Trip Video, starring Mike San Miguel who has an island named after him
The Condor Express May 1, 2010 hunting Murphy's and Cook's Petrels. Best viewed full screen by clicking the icon near the lower right hand corner of the video beneath the "you" in YOU TUBE. Enjoy!
And now a word from our fearless leader, Todd McGrath.....
I just got home, and the world is still rocking, but I wanted to post a brief note about the Condor Express Pelagic. The forecast was rough, and reality matched the forecast. An outstanding game plan by Capt Matt allowed us to get to the deepwater,(1500 fathom) where we thought we might have some birds. Most of the birds were in closer around the 500 fathom line and the last of our 63 or so Cook's Petrels was between 100-200 fathoms just of San Miguel.
We also had brief but good looks for many at a Murphy's Petrel, and several other dark moderately distant petrels were left unidentified. There were two Laysan Alabtrosses, a number of Black-footed Albatrosses, as well as a great phalarope show with thousands of Red-necked and many Reds swirling across the seas.
There are a couple more chances to get offshore. My good friend Terry Hunefeld and the Buena Vista Audubon will be sponsoring a 56 hour double overnight trip on Grande out of San Diego May 15-17, and I will be helping Buena Vista lead this trip. Based on the number of Cook's we saw today as well as some Research Cruise reports, this could be a great chance to see Cook's. As always we won't know until we get out there. July 31 we will be back on The Condor Express. The weather is generally good in July, and this is a good trip for Cook's, Red-billed Tropicbird and who know what else? We had a Tristam's storm-petrel on this trip in 2007 and 138 Cook's in 2009 (we didn't run one in 2008).
The May 15-17 trip is the only trip that likely has another shot at Murphy's Petrel, as they are mostly April-June with a scattering of other dates. My experience is that they are often a bit north of this trips's route, but in good flight years I have seen them in several of the areas this trip is planning to visit. I'm sure Terry will have more interesting details about this trip, but you can go to Socalbirding.com for all the details on this and every other SoCal Pelagic. Another great SoCal trip, I can't wait for the 15th of May!
Cook's Petrel 1 May 2010 off Santa Barbara (c) Dave Pereksta
1 MAY 2010 - TRIP REPORT
By Terry Hunefeld
A friend of mine recently completed a trip on a research ship off the coast of Southern California (San Diego to Monterey) for 2 weeks in mid-April 2010. The ship sailed transects from San Diego to approx 200 miles out, then 40 miles north, working its way back to nearshore, then 40 miles north, and out.... all the way up to Monterey. He tallied 805 Cook's Petrels, 15 Murphy's Petrels (just north of Point Conception) and 3 Hawaiian' Petrels on that trip -- so you can imagine that we were all eagerly anticipating Saturday's May 1 trip on Condor Express.
The seas and wind were big - the perfect pterodroma day. Todd McGrath and Captain Matt made an announcement prior to the trip that anyone who wanted a total refund could opt out. Then the mighty Condor Express pulled out of Santa Barbara Harbor at 7 a. m. Saturday morning, May 1, 2010 to see what Mother Ocean had to offer in the deep water beyond the edge of the Continental Shelf, south west of San Miguel Island.
A fantastic day of seabirding was headlined with 63 Cook's Petrels, but the show-stealer was a Murphy's Petrel that came screaming down the starboard side of the Condor Express. Earlier in the day, several other distant dark petrels were frustratingly left unidentified.
Day totals (see specifics in Jon Feenstra's eBird list below) included two Laysan Albatrosses, 9 Black-footed Albatrosses, 6 Ashy Storm-Petrels, 3 Leach's Storm-petrels, 10 Sabine's Gulls, 3 Pom Jaegers, 12 Xantus's Murrelets, 130+ Sooty Shearwaters and an incredible, never-ending stream of migrating Red-necked Phalaropes.
It was an awesome day with big seas and phenomenal birds - the quintessential pterodroma day. We are all now all on pins and needles anticipating the May 15-17 deep water adventure aboard Grande from San Diego. We've extended our "48-hour Double Overnighter" by 8 hours (to 56 hours) to allow us the time to spend from DAWN TIL DUSK in the deep water between the Patton Escarpment and the San Juan Seamount.
Weekend double-overnight trips have but one purpose: to get out beyond the edge of the continental shelf more than 120 nautical miles offshore where rare pterodroma are usually found only by research ships because no day trips venture this far.
The early bird price of $285 is good through 5:00 p. m. May 6. On May 7 the regular price of $325 goes into effect which is still a heck of a deal when you consider the fact that we're at sea for three days in deep water, home of tropicbirds, pterodroma petrels and albatrosses.
Flying over the Pacific Ocean at 30 knots aboard the Condor Express on March 1, 2009 in flat calm conditions with blue skies and golden seas stretching for miles in all directions - pure heaven on earth. . . . Best viewed full screen by clicking the icon near the lower right hand corner of the video beneath the "you" in YOU TUBE. Enjoy!
Cook's Petrel - May 2009 (c) Dave Pereksta
By Todd McGrath
On our first Condor Express trip of the season we will search the 2000+ fathom water around the San Juan Seamount in hopes of finding such rarities as Murphy's, Cook's and Hawaiian Petrel. We hope to see both Black-footed and LaysanAlbatrosses as both are regular offshore in spring, with Black-footed being more common. Parakeet Auklets were seen on this trip in 2007.
Spring is one of my favorite times to head offshore, beacause in addition to the rarity potential, spring migration will be in full swing. We can expect to see Northern Fulmar; Sooty and Pink-footed Shearwaters; Black, Ashy and Leach's Storm-Petrels; Pomarine, Parasitic and Long-tailed Jaegers; Cassin's and Rhino Auklets plus Xantus's Murrelets around the Channel islands.
The trip cost is $195, which is quite reasonable to cover the 250 mile round trip to the San Juan Seamount. I hope to see you on board!
The spring Condor Express pelagic trip has a record for finding rarities. For example: a thousand Sabine's Gulls, a pod of Orca Killer Whales and seven Parakeet Auklets were enjoyed by dozens of birders on 21 Apr 2007 on this spring pelagic trip aboard the Condor Express.
This trip departs from the Santa Barbara Harbor on the fast catamaran Condor Express at 7:00 a.m. sharp and will return approximately by 8:00 p.m. Weather permitting we will cruise along the deep water shelf by the San Juan Seamount. RESERVATIONS: Reservations are $195. Call Condor Cruises(805) 882-0088. IMPORTANT DETAILS: Click for important logistic information about the boat, the landing, driving directions, maps, lodging, weather, refund and cancellation policies, on-board facilities, meals and snacks.
HOW TO PREPARE: Click for tips on how to prepare, what to wear, what to bring and when to arrive.
CANCELLATION POLICY: Trips on this website are sponsored by different organizations using different boats departing from different landings and harbors. As such, policies vary from trip to trip. This trip is subject to the policies of Condor Cruises (805) 882-0088. When registering, please familiarize yourself regarding their reservation, cancellation, refund and substitution policies as well as reviewing driving directions, check-in times, procedures and equipment allowed on the boats.
Point Conceptions (c) Thomas A Blackman
Horned Puffin from the Condor Express (c) Dave Pereksta 16May2009
This site is owned and operated by the Buena Vista Audubon Society 2202 South Coast Highway, Oceanside, CA 92054 (c) 2007-2010 Buena Vista Audubon Society, Oceanside, California. All rights reserved. All photos copyrighted.