SPRING MIGRATION All San Diego County aboard Grande SPECIAL SAN DIEGO COUNTY TARGET BIRDS: Laysan & Black-footed Albies, Arctic Tern, Sabine's Gull, Ashy, Leach's and Black Storm-Petrels, Xantus's Murrelet South Polar Skua, Pom & Parasitic Jaegers at the Nine Mile and Thirty Mile Banks Saturday May 14, 2011 6:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Laysan Albatross (c) Tom Blackman from Grande
Black-footed Albatross (c) Tom Blackman from Grande
Do to popular demand, the Buena Vista Audubon has chartered Grande for a 13 hour trip to the furthest reaches of San Diego County waters - the Thirty Mile Bank - to look for seabirds seldom seen in San Diego County.
ALBATROSSES: May affords the best window of opportunity to see both Laysan and Black-footed Albies in San Diego County. Black-footed is likely (though certainly not guaranteed) - we saw 3 at the Nine Mile Bank on 16 May 2009 from Grande. Only a handful of Laysan have been seen in San Diego County, and many of us would like a Laysan on our San Diego list. On May 9, 2009, we saw our first Laysan just beyond the Thirty Mile Bank from Grande. On March 7, 2010, we saw a Laysan from Grande just 5 miles south of San Diego County near Coronado Canyon. May is perhaps our best bet for Laysan in San Diego waters - and it's long shot. Another long long shot - a handful of southern California Short-tailed Albatross records in the past decade range from January - August.
ASHY STORM-PETRELS: May is the best month to find these elusive storm-petrels, and out best opportunity to see them is beyond the Nine Mile Bank. We'll also see Black Storm-Petrels and possibly a Leach's or two.
SKUA: This trip affords a good opportunity to find South Polar Skua on their way North from their Antarctic breeding grounds to forage in the rich Alaskan waters. On May 9, 2009, we saw a Skua at the Nine Mile Bank from Grande.
TROPICBIRD: A long shot, but on May 9, 2009, we found a Red-billed Tropicbird just west of the Thirty Mile Bank. On 13 Feb 2010 we saw one at the Nine Mile Bank.
EXPECTED SPECIES include: Northern Fulmar, Pink-footed and Sooty shearwaters, Black Storm-Petrel, Red-necked and Red phalaropes, South Polar Skua, Pomarine Jaeger, Cassin's and Rhinoceros auklets.
MARINE MAMMALS: We expect to see three or four species of dolphins (Bottlenose, Common, Pacific White-sided and Risso's are the logical candidates), plus some whales - Blue, Fin, Sei, Minke and Humpback are the logical candidates.
This 13-hour day trip trip allows us the time we need to get to the Thirty Mile Bank and hunt these rarer and/or deeper water species.
We'll depart Point Loma Sportfishing at 6:00 a.m. first exploring the bird-rich Nine-mile Bank from the comfortable 85-foot live-aboard Grande. Then we'll head out to the furthest limits of San Diego county - to the Thirty Mile Bank - to see if we can get lucky and find a one or two of the above-described species.
On our way out of San Diego harbor we'll motor slowly by the live bait tank barges and the lounging sea lions, several hundred Brandt's cormorants, several species of gulls, and dozens of shorebirds, egrets and herons. On our way out of the harbor we'll check for both American and Black oystercatchers amongst the cobbles of Ballast Point (both seen on both of the Oct 2010 trips) or on the Zuniga Jetty.
400+ Black Storm-Petrels off San Diego 16 May 2009
LEADERS: Experienced San Diego pelagic bird spotters, guides and leaders will be on board to identify and point out marine mammals and seabirds.
ADVANCE RESERVATIONS are $95 for this 13-hour pelagic trip.
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 Grande, Point Loma Sportfishing, 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 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.
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 the Grande and Point Loma Sportfishing'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 $6 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 then seek permanent parking. Free parking is available on the residential streets around the harbor (for day trips) but can be very limited on weekends. If the Fisherman's 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 exact change of $6 per day in folding money for the lockbox).
PHOTO I.D. and BOARDING PASS REQUIRED: All passengers departing Fisherman's Landing and Point Loma Sportfishing must complete the manifest and present photo identification and obtain a boarding pass prior to passing through the Coast Guard security gates. This is mandatory procedure per U.S. Homeland Security.
GEAR UNLOADING: You may pull into the Fisherman's Landing parking lot, unload your gear directly in front of Point Loma Sportfishing and then park in the lot, the overflow lot or seek on-street parking. You're not charged if you depart the lot in less than 30 minutes.
START YOUR DAY STRESS-FREE: We recommend that you arrive at the landing at least 30 minutes prior to boarding time to allow plenty of time to find the landing, unload or transport gear, obtain a boarding pass at the Point Loma Sportfishing ticket window, sign the manifest, use Point Loma Sportfishing's restroom, visit with friends and board Grande with the group. Gates are closed and locked once the group boards. All trips depart on-time without waiting for late-comers. More tips and hints on our trip preparation page.
(c) Todd McGrath and Jon Feenstra
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