[Tweeters] Westport Seabirds Trip Report August 19 - Comparison to San Diego Pelagic on Same Day

B B birder4184 at yahoo.com
Mon Aug 20 14:36:57 PDT 2018

I really enjoyed reading Cara's great report of what sounds like another terrific trip with Westport Seabirds.  At that time I was on my first pelagic trip out of San Diego.  There were 5 other Washington birders on board, joining at least 35 to 40 others including birders from all over the U.S. and some foreign countries.  Washington birders were Scott and Sierra Downes, Shelli and Meghin Spencer and John Bjorkman.  Many of the birders were doing Big Years of one sort or another.
This trip had to be considered a great success because of some really nice birds but I was frustrated with distant only views of the specialty storm petrels (Black, Ashy and maybe a Least) and the Craveri's Murrelets.  Great to find them but especially with such a crowd, the views and especially photo ops were challenging.  There were many experts on board, but I don't think anyone is better at getting birds on the birds than Captain Phil and the Westport spotters.  Another major difference is that unlike Westport, there are no massive collections of birds behind shrimpers to help get great looks.
For most onboard, the highlight were good to excellent views of Red Footed, Brown and Masked Boobies and a Laysan Albatross.  Apparently this has been an excellent year for Boobies here.  The Laysan Albatross, however, was a surprise and was a County first for many of the really serious San Diego County listers on board.  Of particular interest was that this bird had a leg band that identified it as coming from the newly established breeding population from Guadalupe Island off the Mexican Coast.  On the Westport trip a week ago where we also had a Laysan, this new colony was suggested as a probable reason for the increased Laysan observations on the Westport trips - evidenced by the two seen on the trip reported by Cara.
Such a contrast with the Westpot trips.  Maybe two Sooty Shearwaters, 50 Pink Footed Shearwaters, no Fulmars and a single Black Footed Albatross.  There were many fewer individual birds all in all - certainly less than 1000 and maybe not even half that.
And somehow chumming with popcorn just seems weird.  But happy for the Boobies, Craveri's and Storm Petrels.

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