Black-footed Albatross offshore downtown San Diego 7 Mar 2010 San Diego Bird Festival Pelagic (c) Matt Sadowski
Saturday March 5, 2011
BOOBIES AND WHALES
Pink-footed Shearwater, Common Dolphin, Breaching Gray Whale
8-Hour Pelagic Trip To The Nine-mile Bank and Mexico's Los Coronados Islands Whales, Dolphins & Seabirds
This 8-hour pelagic trip will explore the bird-rich Nine Mile Bank from the comfortable 85-foot live-aboard Grande to find seabirds and view migrating California Gray Whales as they make their way to the warm lagoons of Baja California to breed and give birth. This majestic, once-endangered species is now making a comeback.
LAST YEAR'S TRIP SET A SOCAL RECORD: Participant's on last year's Saturday Bird Festival Pelagic trip saw something that has never happened in SoCal before or since: we found twoManx Shearwaters (very rare in California!). Later, as we got out to the Nine Mile Bank, we had another "first" as we came across a flock of 16 feeding Pink-tooted Shearwaters, the first flock of the year, fresh up from the southern hemisphere on the very beginning of their northen migration. Last year's trip report.
We expect to see three or four species of dolphins (Bottlenose, Common, Pacific White-sided and Risso's) and numerous seabirds including fulmars, shearwaters, auklets, murrelets, and jaegers. This is also a good time of year to find three species of loons, three species of cormorants, five to six species of gulls.
Rarities: An adult Blue-footed Boobly circled Grande 4 times on one of our Bird Festival Trips on March 5, 2009. An immature Blue-footed Booby was seen with the Brown Booby colony on the Los Coronados Islands on our Grande October 4, 2008 trip. A Masked Booby was seen 19 Jan 2008 and 10 Feb 2008 on a Bird Festival Pelagic trip.
After exploring the birds and sea mammals at the Nine Mile Bank, we'll turn south and cross the border into Mexico. The rugged yet scenic Islas Coronados are situated in Mexican waters within sight of much of San Diego. The steep-sided islands are an important sanctuary for birds and sea life.
On our way out of the harbor we'll motor slowly by the San Diego live bait tanks for close-ups of several dozen lounging sea lions, several hundred Brandt's cormorants, several species of gulls, and dozens of egrets and herons.
At the islands, the captain will put Grande right up next to the steep cliffs for excellent opportunities to see rocky shore birds such as Black and American Oystercatchers, Wandering Tattler, Black Turnstone and Surfbird. Peregrine Falcons are often seen at the islands; on one of our 2008 trips, we were trying to identify a sparrow flying over the water when a Peregrine stooped and snared dinner right in front of us!
While at the Coronados Islands we'll observe immense breeding colonies of Brandt's Cormorants, Western Gulls and Brown Pelicans. We'll sift through the Brown Booby colony on Middle Rock and try find the elusive Blue-footed and Masked Boobies that have been seen off and on for the past three years.
We expect to see migrating Gray Whales, multiple pods of dolphins, as well as snoozing Harbor Seals and California Sea Lions. We'll also peek around the back of Middle Island to see if there are any of the once-thought-extinct Elephant Seals.
AGE: This trip is appropriate for children 8 years and older.
LEADERS for this trip consist of west coast pelagic birding & mammal experts LEADERS for this trip include Steve N.G. HowellPaul E. LehmanDave PoveyMatt SadowskiTerry HunefeldMark J Billings and Clay Taylor of SwarovskiOptiks. Clay always brings along a big case of every Swarovski Binocular known to man so that you have a great opportunity to field-test them in real-life birding conditions. Bus Departs Marina Village Bird Festival Headquarters: 7:00 a.m. sharp Grande Boarding Time: 7:20 a.m. at Point Loma Sportfishing Landing Grande Departure Time: 7:40 a.m. sharp Grande Return: 3:30 p.m. Bus Returns to Marina Village Bird Festival Headquarters: 4:00 p.m.
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.
LOCALS: BRING A CHAIR - Grande has a spacious salon/cabin/galley with plenty of comfortable "restaurant-booth" seating for meals, reading, resting socializing or napping. Seating is limited on the spacious, stable aft deck, and you're strongly encouraged to bring a sturdy nylon outdoor folding chair aboard. If you prefer to be where the action is, outside on deck the entire day, 8 hours can be a long time to be on your feet -- you'll appreciate a chair.
EXPECTED SPECIES: What we see depends on the season, the itinerary and how far from shore we venture. Learn more about what species we will probably see and what species might be seen. We certainly didn't expect to see a Blue-footed Booby making laps around Grande at the 2009 Bird Festival, and the 2009 Festival's Manx Shearwaters were simply spectacular!
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.
Manx Shearwater 7 March 2009 San Diego Bird Festival Pelagic (c) Steve N.G. Howell
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, 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.
WOW! An army of short-beaked "Saddleback" dolphins comes over to investivate Grande on Sunday's March, 8, 2009 San Diego Bird Festival Pelagic Trip. Seen in this movie: Todd McGrath, Steve N.G. Howell, Thomas Blackman. Photographer: W. Terry "Tuna" Hunefeld. Best viewed full screen by clicking the icon near the lower right hand corner of the video beneath the "you" in YOU TUBE. Enjoy!
Manx Shearwaters are seen in San Diego in the winter (c) Matthew Sadowski
Short-tailed Shearwater are seen in San Diego waters every winter (c) Todd McGrath 2008
(c) Todd McGrath and Jon Feenstra
The Coronados Islands (c) Terry Hunefeld
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