Pelagic Trip Report Condor Express from Santa Barbara May 16, 2009
Horned Puffin (c) Todd McGrath 16May2009
By: Todd McGrath
Highlight: HORNED PUFFIN in waters south of San Miguel Island. The trip left Santa Barbara at 8am, motored out the west end of the channel, then west to the 1,000 fathom line, following that to the south east until we were south of San Miguel We returned to Santa Barbara via the Santa Rosa - San Miguel passage.
Other bird highlights included a LONG-TAILED JAEGER southwest of San Miguel Island, a little fluff-ball XANTUS'S MURRELET chick with its father,SOUTH POLAR SKUA, and two BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES between San Miguel Island and Pt Conception. Other species included Cassin's and Rhino Auklets, Northern Fulmar, Sooty and Pink-footed Shearwater, Black and Ashy Storm-Petrels Red and Red-necked Phalaropes, and Sabine's Gulls. Marine mammals included Common dolphins, Pacific white-sided dolphins, many humpback whales (including one lunge-feeding and four playing at length around and even underneath ou= r boat), a northern fur-seal, California sea lions, and elephant seals on the beach on the south side of San Miguel.
There were birds too look at all day, with the birdiest areas being the channel off Santa Cruz and the 300-500 fathom line south of the San Miguel. The Horned Puffin was spotted by Jon Feenstra as we searched a strong current break.
Thanks to Dave Compton (whose report on SBC birds I borrowed from) Jon Feenstra, Dave Pereksta, Mike San Miguel, and Wes Fritz who volunteered their time to teach the Channel Islands Naturalists Corps about the distribution and Identification of Seabirds around the Islands. Unfortunately Terry Hunefeld could not be with us on this trip as he was onboard Grande out of San Diego discovering albatrosses on the Nine Mile Bank for the second weekend in a row. Thanks also the Corps for chartering the trip. Capt Matt and the crew of the Condor Express, as usual, went above and beyond to make sure we had a great trip.
Trip totals are below. Please note that there are 2 upcoming trips that will spend time around the Channel Islands. See http://wwwSOCALBIRDING.COM for full descriptions of the June 6th Island Scub-Jay trip from Oxnard and the July 25th deepwater trip from Santa Barbara.
I will post a more detailed description of upcoming trips tomorrow, but so far our 2009 trips have been outstanding, with lots of birds, whales and other marine life in SoCal.
Trip Totals courtesy of Dr. Jon Feenstra and eBird
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