[Tweeters] Westport Pelagic, June 27. GREAT SHEARWATER

Bruce LaBar blabar at harbornet.com
Sun Jun 28 19:53:29 PDT 2015

Yesterday, after concerns about the windy weather forecast, 18 birders, 2 leaders and Phil and Chris Anderson ventured out on one of our scheduled Outer Slope trips. This trip is designed to go a bit further than our normal stopping spot in order to look for Leach’s Storm-Petrels. We did encounter a bumpy ride out but pretty smooth sailing coming back. Along this route, we found 5 shrimp boats as we headed out and 4 on the way back. These boats attract a zillion birds behind them when bringing up their nets ( o.k. maybe several thousand). The main highlight, among those shrimpers, was the sighting of a GREAT SHEARWATER pretty close to the boat and on the water. This was the 7 or 8th record for Washington. Everyone on the boat got to see the shearwater and many pictures were taken. The bird was also seen in flight. Also, in this flock of shearwaters, was a Flesh-footed Shearwater, also on the water and close to the boat!
At our chum spot we were able to attract 7 Leach’s and 3 more in transit. Other highlights were 4 South Polar Skuas, 1 Parasitic Jaeger, 1 Tufted Puffin and 47 Black-footed Albatross.
The most spectacular event was the estimated number of 14462 Pink-footed Shearwaters! According to Scott Mills, these numbers accounted for almost 76% of the day’s birds. The previous all-time high in June was 362 and the previous all-time high for any Westport trip was 2536! These birds breed off of Chile and make there way north during our spring and summer months. What is going on is a great question and it will be curious what our numbers look like for the rest of the year.
Mammal highlights included 6 Humpback Whales, 70 Pacific White-sided Dolphins and 14 Northern Right Whale Dolphins.

Bird totals:
Surf Scoter-4
Black-footed Albatross-47
Northern Fulmar-82
Pink-footed Shearwater-14462
Flesh-footed Shearwater-1
Great Shearwater-1
Sooty Shearwater-1141
Fork-tailed Storm Petrel-286
Leach’s Storm Petrel-10
Brandt’s Cormorant-124
Double-crested Cormorant-7
Pelagic Cormorant-71
Brown Pelican-646
South Polar Skua-4
Parasitic Jaeger-1
Common Murre-64
Pigeon Guillemot-11
Ancient Murrelet-1
Cassin’s Auklet-9
Rhinoceros Auklet-115
Tufted Puffin-1
Black-legged Kittiwake-14
Heermann’s Gull-1532
California Gull-4
Glaucous-winged/Western Gulls-410
GlaucousxGlaucous-winged Gull-1

Leaders for this trip were Scott Mills and myself along the boat personal/spotters, Phil and Chris Anderson

Our next scheduled Westport Pelagic is on July 18. For information and reservations, please check our web-site at www.westportseabirds.com

Bruce LaBar
Tacoma, WA

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