[Tweeters] August 13 Westport Seabirds Pelagic Trip - Laysan Albatross and Buller's Shearwaters

Gene Revelas grevelas at integral-corp.com
Tue Aug 15 06:53:19 PDT 2017

Hi Tweets -

This past Sunday, August 13th, we had another great trip with Westport Seabirds. With about 18 enthusiastic birders from near (Olympia), far (Sweden), and many points in between, we left the dock at Westport about 6 am and headed due west along our usual track toward the deep waters of Grays Canyon. Seas were confused and bumpy heading west but winds were relatively light throughout the day and we enjoyed a smooth and sunny ride home. Just outside the Jetty, we passed through about 13,000 Sooty Shearwaters, with much smaller numbers of Brown Pelicans, Heerman's Gulls, Common Murres, and a few Red-necked Phalaropes. As is typical, bird numbers dropped as we left the nearshore zone, but by 8:30 we picked up our first Black-footed Albatross, Northern Fulmars, and Pink-footed Shearwaters. A very cooperative South Polar Skua picked up off the water just ahead of the boat and flew close down the starboard side. Captain Phil then found a shrimper on the horizon and once there we picked up much better looks of both Black-foots and Pink-foots, and our first Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel of the day. Moving on to deeper water, a few Cassin's Auklets were seen, and our first of the season Buller's Shearwater flew by. We would see 11 Buller's by the end of the trip. Over the edge of the canyon, we found a Hagfish Boat processing its catch with about 75 Black-footed Albatross in its shadow, as well as more Pink-foots, Sooties, and many juvenile California Gulls, the most common gull offshore in summer. A lost juvenile Brown-headed Cowbird landed briefly on the boat. As we were about to move on, a Laysan Albatross flew up our wake and alongside the boat for all to see. This was the avian highlight of the day as we only see this species on about 5% of our August trips. Phil then took us northeast from there and straight into the mouth of the canyon as we turned for home. This extended period in deep water was birdy and we added Sabine's Gulls and one Parasitic Jaeger. As we motored smoothly back towards Westport with a tail wind, several Humpback Whales put on a show with a couple animals breaching nearby. A few Dall's Porpoise played in our wake and better looks at Red-necked Phalaropes and Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels were had. A good size ocean sunfish was also seen well. Back at the Westport Jetty, we added Surfbird and Wandering Tattler to the trip list, and in the marina, a few 100 Marbled Godwits and 1 Whimbrel were roosting on the floating docks.
The numbers above are preliminary. The final numbers and complete species listed will be posted on Westport Seabirds.com and on ebird. Spotters for the trip were Scott Mills, Cara Borre, and Gene Revelas. As usual Skipper Phil Anderson and Chris Anderson (deckhand, crew, ginger snap purveyor) made sure fun was had by all.
Please check http://westportseabirds.com/ for information on upcoming trips. There are many trips scheduled in August and September, and one on October 7th, the final trip of 2017. Hope to see you out there sometime soon!

Gene Revelas
Olympia, WA

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