[Tweeters] Westport Seabirds trip report for Saturday, August 25
bfalbatross at gmail.com
Tue Aug 28 03:52:38 PDT 2018
Leaving the dock at 6 a.m., a full boat of birders headed west towards a
shrimp fleet at the edge of Grays Canyon. Crew for the day was skipper Phil
Anderson, Chris Anderson, Bill Tweit, Bill Shelmerdine and myself.
After seeing Sooty Shearwaters at the mouth of Grays Harbor, the next
pelagic species we expect to see is the Pink-footed Shearwater, but on this
trip, it was a Sabine’s Gull and a Red Phalarope, both closer to shore
expected. This was followed by a Pomarine Jaeger, then the first
Pink-footed Shearwaters. Before we got out to deep water, we started
encountering Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels and Cassin’s Auklets. Smooth sea
conditions were good for spotting alcids, and birders on board were able to
get good looks at Cassin’s Auklets on the water and didn’t have to settle
for looks at them fly-bouncing on the water away from the boat. (There’s a
reason Sibley illustrates alcids flying away.)
Getting closer to the fleet, we started picking up more and more Northern
Fulmars, a species commonly seen feeding in numbers behind boats. Most of
them are completing their annual molt and are looking much less ratty than
they did earlier in the summer. Approaching the fleet, we encountered a
Buller’s Shearwater and the first Black-footed Albatross a species that is
arguably the star of Westport Seabird trips.
While over deep water, four Long-tailed Jaegers was a treat, and a tally of
six Short-tailed Shearwaters continues the streak of having recorded them
on every trip this summer. Also over deep water, a Townsend’s Warbler
landed on the boat (and on a few of the birders as well) and spent about an
hour with us.
Marine mammal diversity continues to be very good this summer:
Humpback Whales actively feeding, tail slapping, and one energetic
individual did a full body breach out the water.
Two groups of Dall’s Porpoises zipped up to the boat to bow ride, aka surf
the wave made by the moving boat.
Northern Fur Seals “jug handling” (laying at the surface and keeping their
front and rear flippers out of the water), looking like debris until you
see the flippers and whiskers.
Complete numbers are posted on the Westport Seabirds website, where you can
find information about upcoming trips: www.westportseabirds.com
The website now lists how many spaces are still available on individual
Also check out Westport Seabirds on Facebook for past trip reports and
archives of photos.
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