San Diego - Grande 48-Hour Pelagic To The Butterfly Bank Cook's and Hawaiian Petrels, Mexican Exotics, Tropicbirds, Craveri's Murrelets and 3 subspecies of Leach's Storm-Petrels in U.S. Waters Depart: Monday August 16 at 7:00 a.m. Return: Wednesday August 18 at 7:00 a.m.
Craveri's Murrelet from Grande (c) Steve N.G. Howell
Red-billed Tropicbird (c) Todd McGrath
The southern frontier of the ABA area is a great place to look for vagrants. Whether its Caribbean strays in Florida, or Mexican vagrants in Texas and Arizona, birders have long known to head south to the border. One of the last frontiers of border birding is the ocean off San Diego.
Due to a treaty, the US territorial waters (and ABA area) extend offshore well south of San Diego. This area is well known to fishermen who flock to this area in the summer to fish tuna and yellowtail. The rich environment that brings game fish up from the south also provides excellent feeding ground for seabirds, including some of the most sought after in the ABA area.
Red-billed Tropicbirds have never been missed on a Grande 48 hour trip, and are at their peak numbers in August.
Hawaiian Petrel: August is a peak time to look for Hawaiian Petrel known to be in these waters July - September.
CRAVERI'S MURRELETS: The southern waters off the coast of San Diego are the best areas in the ABA area to look for Xantus's (both races) and Craveri's Murrelets. The best time to find Craveri's is Aug - mid October. The September 2009 Searcher trip recorded a Craveri's Murrelet on the north end of the Nine Mile Bank. Four were well seen and photographed from Grande on Oct 4, 2008 (see photos by Steve Howell below). Glimpses of two elusive birds were had by a few from Grande on Oct 3, 2009.
LEACH'S STORM-PETRELS: Three subspecies of Leach's Storm-Petrels are expected including one summer-breeding Guadalupe subspecies that is a good candidate for eventual splitting. The current issue of North American Birds has an article about the status and identification of the subspecies of Leach's off Southern California.
Extreme vagrants such as Wedge-tailed Shearwater and Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrel are regular up to a bit south of mid-peninsula in Baja; August and September is a great time to look for these species. We are just beginning to explore this area, and other surprises will likely await. A Bulwer's Petrel was seen September 4, 2003 off San Clemente Island and probably in the Santa Barbara Channel September 5, 2007.
In addition to these "Southern Specialties" late August is an excellent time to see the regular assortment of fall migrant seabirds that have made California famous including Black, Leach's and Ashy Storm-Petrels, South Polar Skua, all 3 species of jaegers, Buller's, Pink-footed and Sooty Shearwaters and Black-footed Albatrosses.
This trip is our only summer double-overnight trip and is scheduled during weekdays because we're competing with sports fishermen during peak fishing season. If we scheduled this trip on the weekend, the price would double! Our purpose on this late-summer trip is to get spend a full 48-hours looking for rare vagrants - summer birds at the north end of their range and early southbound migrants.
We will depart Point Loma Sportfishing on Grande on Monday morning Aug 16 at 7:00 a.m. sharp. We'll bird our way to and through the bird-rich Nine Mile Bank. After spending some time exploring the bank we'll continue west to the Thirty Mile Bank and San Clemente basin where we enter the zone of the deep water tubenoses and alcids.
Depending on weather, currents, and where the fishing life zone are, we'll spend all Tuesday out past San Clemente Island, exploring some (but not all of the following features): The Sixty Mile Bank, The Butterfly Bank, The Mushroom, The Dumping Grounds, The Cortes Bank.
ADVANCE RESERVATIONS: Advance reservations are $325, This trip has reached the necessary signup minimums and is officially a go.
RESERVATIONS Telephone Point Loma Sportfishing (the landing) seven days a week at (619) 223-1627. Tell them to wish to make a reservation for a birding trip on Grande and give them the date of departure. IMPORTANT DETAILS: Click for IMPORTANT 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.
EXPECTED & POSSIBLE SPECIES:Learn more about what species we will probably see and what species might be seen.
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. Prior to registering, please familiarize yourself with your trip's policies regarding reservations, cancellations, refunds and substitutions as well as reviewing driving directions, check-in times, procedures and equipment allowed on the boats.
PARKING: There is a large parking at Point Loma Sportfishing for $5 a day. Enter the lot using the Emerson & Scott entrance and you'll be right at the landing 100 feet inside the parking gate so you can drop off your gear the seek permanent parking. Free parking is available on the residential streets around the harbor (for day trips) but street parking is very limited in summer months. If the landing parking lot is full, you'll be directed to a lighted off-site self-serve pre-pay parking lot about a block away that has always had space (bring $5 per day in folding money for the lockbox).
GEAR UNLOADING: You may pull into the landing parking lot, unload your gear directly in front of Point Loma Sportfishing and then park in the lot or seek on-street parking. You're not charged if you're in the parking lot for under 30 minutes.
START YOUR DAY STRESS-FREE: We recmmend that you arrive at the landing an hour prior to scheduled departure to allow plenty of time to find the landing, unload or transport gear, obtain a boarding pass at the Point Loma Sportfishing Landing ticket window, sign the manifest, use the landing's restroom, get a cup of coffee, visi with friends and board Grande 30 minutes before scheduled departure. All trips depart on-time without waiting for late-comers. Boarding begins 30 minutes prior to scheduled departure. More tips and hints on our trip preparation page.
DEEP WATER LIFE ABOARD GRANDE
Video best viewed full screen: click the icon near the lower right hand corner of the video (beneath the "You" in YouTube).
Bulwer's Petrel (c) Göran Ekström
Bulwer's Petrel (c) Göran Ekström
Cook's Petrel 25 JUL 2009 (c) Todd McGrath
(c) Todd McGrath and Jon Feenstra
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