[Tweeters] Westport Seabirds August 19 trip report

Jim Danzenbaker jdanzenbaker at gmail.com
Tue Aug 21 08:09:24 PDT 2018


Pelagic enthusiasts from as far away as Virginia, Massachusetts, and South
Carolina met at the *Monte Carlo* at Westport for the August 19 Westport
Seabirds pelagic trip. Opening announcements made and baggage secured, we
left with expectations of a grand day on the ocean amid shearwaters,
albatrosses, jaegers, and anything else that we could find.

The trip over the Continental Shelf was a great time for observing the
regularly occurring species such as Common Murres (some dads with a chick
which was a sign of successful breeding from the colonies along the Oregon
coast), Sooty Shearwaters, and the occasional Rhinoceros Auklet. Soon
Northern Fulmars and chilean bred Pink-footed Shearwaters joined the mix.
Its good that everyone had the chance to learn the common species early and
new species were introduced to the plate in a very manageable way.
Although we were hampered a bit by the fog, it didn't prevent some from
getting a fleeting view of a Flesh-footed Shearwater and several Buller's

Our goal as with all of the Westport Seabirds trips was to find the shrimp
fleet which regularly works the edge of the Continental Shelf. Captain
Phil made a straight line to the fleet which happened to cross paths with
several flocks of Fork-tailed Storm Petrels, several stunning Sabine's
Gulls, and scattered Red-necked and Red Phalaropes. Our arrival at the
shrimp fleet meant a chance to study the numerous Black-footed Albatrosses
but the black and white one eluded us this day. We were treated to a quick
jaeger show which included 3 Long-tailed Jaegers. Several of us had
already seen Pomarine and Parasitc so the jaeger trifecta was in the bag -
just needed the skua for the slam! As with previous summer Westport
Seabirds trips this year, Short-tailed Shearwaters were encountered - good
to record our fifth shearwater species of the day but we knew that this
meant continued trouble with the food supply in the Bering Sea where
Short-tailed Shearwaters should be at this time of year.

One of the highlights of the trip was an encounter with a wide school of
Pacific White-sided Dolphin - about 125 in all, which bow rode and leapt
over the water to the delight of all. Skimming low were many Pink-footed
Shearwaters which were attracted to the activity. Captain Phil laid some
chum and we soon were treated to very audible Pink-footed Shearwaters doing
underwater dives to ensure that no food went uncaught. What a treat! At
one point while we were watching the estimated 2800 birds that were
foraging around the shrimp fleet, the call of "SKUA" rang out and we all
watched this marine pirate take a quick trip over the boat before heading
off to harass the numerous shearwaters and gulls. Combined jaeger/skua
slam - yes!

Our return to Westport included a stop for an immature Tufted Puffin, a
nice addition to the day's list. Greeted by cormorants and Heermann's
Gulls as we approached the jetty, all eyes went to scanning the rocks
although no rocky shorebirds showed themselves. A flock of 200+ Marbled
Godwits and a few Black Turnstones were in the inner harbor for a climactic
conclusion to another great Westport Seabirds trip.

Thanks to Captain Phil and Chris for their unending dedication to
presenting the best of Washington's pelagic birding and to fellow guides
Bill Tweit and Michael Donahue for their expertise.

Next Westport Seabirds trips with available spaces are September 22, 23,
29, and 30 and October 6 and 13. For more information, visit our website
at westport seabirds

Keep your eyes and ears.... alert for everything!

Jim for Westport Seabirds
Jim Danzenbaker
Battle Ground, WA
jdanzenbaker at gmail.com
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