[Tweeters] Westport Seabirds trip report for Saturday, August 16

Michael Donahue bfalbatross at gmail.com
Sun Aug 17 15:13:13 PDT 2014


It was a great day offshore yesterday. We started out in fog but it
lifted as we got farther offshore. Visibility was good and the seas
relatively smooth. Spotters were Bill Tweit, Ryan Shaw, and myself, with
birders (many first time pelagicers) from New Mexico, North Carolina,
Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and around Washington State.
As we got into deeper water we found several clusters of commercial shrimp
boats which were surrounded with clouds and clouds of birds. We estimated
several thousand each of Pink-footed Shearwaters and California Gulls, with
Sooty Shearwaters and a few Black-footed Albatross mixed in. The day tally
of 5800 Pink-footed Shearwater, 5300 Sooty Shearwater, and 5600 California
Gulls was impressive! Northern Fulmars have been scarce this year but we
were able to scramble up a few around the boats.

Several flocks of Sabine’s Gulls and Red-necked Phalaropes, and two each of
Pomarine and Long-tailed Jaegers represented the arctic nesting birds on
the move. Good numbers of Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels included many recently
fledged young in immaculate plumage. We had 11 Cassin’s Auklets, which was
surprisingly low since ocean conditions were conducive to spotting alcids.

Non-bird diversity was very good, with Dall’s Porpoise, Harbor Porpoise,
Northern Fur Seal, Northern Elephant Seal, and a Humpback Whale which
surfaced close to the boat. We had 43 ocean sunfish, which is a high count
for our trips, and Albacore tuna jumping out of the water after their fish
prey, the Pacific Saury. There are still lots of *Velella* around (also
called By-the-Wind-Sailor); they have been unusually common along the west
coast this year.

I’ve posted a handful of photos on the Westport Seabirds Facebook page.
There are still spaces available on some of the remaining trips in
September-October. Information is at www.westportseabirds.com.

Mike Donahue
Seattle
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