[Tweeters] Westport Pelagic, Aug. 24, GREAT SHEARWATER

Bruce Labar blabar at harbornet.com
Sun Aug 25 10:16:12 PDT 2013

Yesterday's Westport Seabird pelagic trip was a huge success after a foggy, misty beginning. Once we got a few miles offshore, the fog lifted, the sun came out and the sea became very smooth. With such calm conditions, alcids and other resting birds were easy to spot and identify. With such visability from above, terns, jaegers and gulls were able to come and investigate our boat. This proved to be very successful with many sightings of Sabine's Gulls, Arctic Terns and what we call the jaeger slam, which is seeing all three species of jaegers and at least 4 sightings of South Polar Skua.
Alcid sightings included Cassin's Auklets, Common Murres, Rhino's, Pigeon Guillemot and 4 close views of Tufted Puffin.
On the voyage out, we were able to find several Shrimp boats which had hundreds of birds waiting for by-catch. Mostly Pink-footed Shearwaters and California Gulls, with a few Black-footed Albatross, Northern Fulmars and Sooty Shearwaters.
After chumming some 30 miles offshore, we headed back to investigate the Shrimp boats once again. While scanning through all the hundreds of birds, there appeared a shearwater in the distance,on the water that had a black and white contrast that could have been a Buller's Shearwater, that we had seen only in flight earlier in the day. After getting closer and closer to this shearwater, we realized that this was not a Buller's but indeed the fourth record for Washington of a Great Shearwater!! (recent name change from Greater to Great) We all got great close views and a zillion pictures were taken. The bird refused to move as we kept getting closer and closer. Finally, it got up off the water and we were able to see another field mark of the U shaped, white markings on the upper tail coverts. Pictures will be on our facebook page and our website at www.westportseabirds.

Another one of the highlights of the trip was our mammal list that included; many Risso's Dolphin's, Northern Right Whale Dolphins, a few Pacific White-sided Dolphins, a Northern Fur Seal, 2 Elephant Seals with their heads sticking out of the water, one close Humpback Whale, Harbor Porpoise, Harbor Seals and California Sea Lions.

Leaders for this trip were Ryan Shaw, Scott Mills and myself.

Bruce LaBar
Tacoma, Wa.
blabar at harbornet.com

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