[Tweeters] Westport Pelagic Trip, Aug. 30, Laysan Albatross, Flesh-footed Shearwater

Bruce LaBar blabar at harbornet.com
Mon Sep 1 16:02:15 PDT 2014

Waking up to a steady rain wasn’t what we wanted and we hoped it would lessen as we departed. In our morning introductions, Captain Phil Anderson said that as we got farther out to sea, we would hopefully leave the rain behind us. After being huddled up in the cabin entrance for an hour or so, the rain lightened and not too much longer -- as forecasted -- we had wonderfully calm seas, gray sky turning to blue and a unbelievable great pelagic trip!

Most of our pelagic participants were from Washington, with only a few from other states and Canada. Several had never been on a pelagic or one out of Westport. They were in for a tremendous day which included thousands of birds behind shrimp boats, rare species sightings and close encounters with Humpback Whales. The highlights included one first-of-the year sighting of a Laysan Albatross coming close to the boat, turning and heading back out to sea. Phil gunned the engines for a chase but the Laysan continued too far out to catch. Within the thousands of California Gulls, Pink-footed Shearwaters and Sooty Shearwaters behind the shrimpers, Bill Tweit and Gene Revelas at the same time found our first of 2 Flesh-footed Shearwaters (our first of the year also). Seven Buller’s Shearwaters wowed birders with their beautiful plumage and lazy flight behavior. Adult Sabine’s Gulls are always a highlight with their colorful markings . We encountered 26 of these Arctic breeders heading south. Because of the calm waters, 161 Cassin’s Auklets and 41 Red Phalaropes were easily viewed out in deeper waters. A lost Yellow Warbler tested our optics as it kept circling the boat giving only quick views.

Mammal highlights included several Humpback Whales feeding close to the boat. An Elephant Seal’s head poking out of the water is always a good sighting as one stayed up for all to view.
Other notes of interest were thousands of Valalla jellyfish and good numbers of another jelly that we haven’t keyed out. Many tuna fish jumping out of the water was a treat. Mola mola (ocean sunfish) and blue shark entertained us at the chum spot.
Leaders for this trip were Gene Revelas, Bill Tweit and myself. Phil Anderson and Chris Anderson also added their expertise.

This is our busiest time of the year for pelagic trips. If interested in upcoming trips please go to our website, www.westportseabirds, for reservations or other information.

Bird List
Mallard (in large flying flock of Northern Pintails)
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal (also in the pintail flocks)
Surf Scoter
White-winged Scoter
Black-footed Albatross
Northern Fulmar
Pink-footed Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater
Flesh-footed Shearwater
Buller’s Shearwater
Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel
Brandt’s Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Brown Pelican
Wandering Tattler-3, on rocks at jetty
Marbled Godwit-400, by coast guard station at the marina.
Ruddy Turnstone-1, on rocks at jetty
Black Turnstone-2, same
Surfbird-1, same
Red-necked Phalarope
Red Phalarope
Sabine’s Gull
Heermann’s Gull
Western Gull
California Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Common Tern-10, coming in, near jetty
Arctic Tern-1, seen by a few, far from boat
Pomarine Jaeger-1
Parasitic Jaeger-3, one at our chum sight, giving all close views
Pigeon Guillemot-1, only one seen, far out at sea
Common Murre
Cassin’s Auklet
Rhinoceros Auklet
Tufted Puffin-3
Yellow Warbler-1

Humpback Whale
Harbor Porpoise
Dall’ Porpoise
Northern Fur Seal
California Sea-Lion
Steller’ Sea-Lion
Harbor Seal
Northern Elephant Seal

For complete species numbers, check our website or Facebook page in coming days.

Bruce LaBar
Tacoma, WA

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