I just got home, and the world is still rocking, but I wanted to post a brief note about the Condor Express Pelagic. We had brief but good looks for many at a Murphy's Petrel, and several other dark moderately distant petrels were left unidentified. Based on the number of Cook's we saw today (63) as well as some Research Cruise reports, May 15-17 could be a great chance to see Cook's. As always we won't know until we get out there. 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. My computer is still moving like I am at the Rodriquez Seamount, so it is off to bed. Another great SoCal trip, I can't wait for the 15th of May!
A friend of mine just completed a trip on a research ship off the coast of Southern - Central California for 2 weeks in mid-April. 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 to Monterey. He tallied 805 Cook's Petrels, at least one Stejneger's Petrel, 15 Murphy's Petrels 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. We were blessed by Mother Ocean with pterodroma wind and 63 Cook's and a close Murphy's Petrel fly-by. 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. Monte Taylor's Photos of the Murphy's Petrel May 1 2010
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.
Itinerary: We'll head directly west to explore the bird-rich Nine-mile bank, then head west, spending the day looking for birds among the life zones of 'the 182," the 30 mile bank and the 60 mile bank.
By sunset we should be 5 miles south of Pyramid Cove on San Clemente Island where, weather permitting, we turn on a northwesty couse towards the San Juan Seamount. We plan to awaken Sunday morning at the edge of the Continental Shelf and continue northwest over the deep water between the Patton Escarpment to the east and the San Juan Seamount in the deep water where many Cook's Petrels were seen from a research ship in mid-April 2010 and many more seen on 1 May 2010 from the Condor Express.
Murphy's Petrel: One well seen by many from the Condor Express on 1 May 2010 and 15 seen from a research ship in mid-April 2010 just north of Point Conception. There are 19 accepted records for Murphy's Petrel mentioned in "Rare Birds Of California" and eight of them are in these waters during the month of May, all 50 - 200 miles west of San Miguel Island. Murphy's Petrel is known to be a routine visitor mid-April through early June well offshore (Hamilton, et al, 2007). Nearly 100 Murphy's were seen from Searcher on three different expeditions in 2003 and 2005.
Cook's Petrel: We've had good success with Cook's Petrels at the continental shelf edge over the past two seasons. 3 were seen in May 2009 from Grande. On July 25, 2009, 136 were recorded in these waters by the Condor Express. Dozens were seen by Searcher crew on fishing trips June - August 2007 in the deep water off the Baja and San Diego Coast.
Adding 8 hours to the "48-hour weekends" that we did in 2008 and 2009 allow us the luxury of staying from sunup to sundown on Sunday in the area of 2,000 fathom water off the San Juan Seamount - something we've never done before on Grande. The best way to see Murhpy's and Cook's Petrel in California is to be on deep-water trips like this one where we have plenty of time to hunt and chum for pterodromas and chance upon tropicbirds.
We expect to awaken Monday morning about 60 miles offshore with time to explore the 30 mile and Nine Mile banks on our cruise back to San Diego harbor.
Our goal is to spend all day Sunday in the deep waters favored by pterodroma in the area of the San Juan Seamont. Where we will go depends on the weather, the seas, temperature breaks, bird reports and bird sightings. More information on the trip and itinerary.....
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.
ADVANCE RESERVATIONS: Reservations are $325. Early Bird discount: $285 until May 6. Tickets are $350 the day of the trip if any spots remain.
RESERVATIONS BY PHONE (Check or Credit Card): Telephone Point Loma Sportfishing (the landing) seven days a week at (619) 223-1627. Tell them to wish to make a reservation for the May 15-17 birding trip on Grande. PAY IN FULL: Some fishing trips allow "anglers" to pay 50% at signup and the balance the day of the trip. All birding trips requirepayment in full (even if thetelephone rep gives you an option to pay 50%).
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: Read the 2010 accounts of Cook's, Hawaiian and Murphy' Petrels. Black-footed and Laysan Albatross are expected. 14 Laysan were seen from Grande in May of 2009. A Hawaiian Petrel was seen from a NOAA research trip off Peacadero 23 May 2007. Dozens of Cook's Petrels were seen by Searcher crew on fishing trips in June 2007 in deep water off the Baja and San Diego Coast, three were seen on May 10, 2009 from Grande. The endemic Ashy Storm-Petrel, one of the rarest storm-petrels in the world, are fairly common this time of year. We will be in Red-billed Tropicbird waters. We expect to see South Polar Skuas, Pomarine Jaegers, Parasitic Jaegers, Arctic Terns, Sabine's Gulls and possibly a Long-tailed Jaeger or two. Xantus's Murrelets will be plentiful. It's a bit like a treasure hunt - we never know what we'll find! 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.
WINTER LIMITED PARKING UPDATE: All three landings at the fisherman's waterfront are remodeling during this offseason. This will result in a portion of the parking lot being used as storage for the construction and the day to day landing operations being conducted from temporary office trailers set up in the parking lot. We stongly advise a little more time alloted for customers to find parking on all trips through June 1st.
DEEP WATER LIFE ABOARD GRANDE
Murphy's Petrel (c) Matt Sadowski
Cook's Petrel off San Diego May 10 2009 (c) Tom Blackman
Laysan Albatross from Grande - May 10 2009 (c) Tom Blackman
(c) Todd McGrath and Jon Feenstra
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