[Tweeters] WESTPORT PELAGIC TRIP, JUNE 15, ASHY STORM-PETREL!

Bruce LaBar blabar at harbornet.com
Sun Jun 16 17:05:53 PDT 2019


June lived up to it’s potential again for rarities! Washington’s second record of a Ashy Storm-Petrel was observed and photographed at our normal chum spot in Grays Canyon, roughly 35 miles from shore. The first record also was recorded in June, 13 years ago in 2006!

We were expecting the more frequent Leach’s Storm-Petrel when this bird was sighted. When it first came into our slick, we called out that it was a possible Leach’s. However, it remained on the back side of the slick and only gave us brief views as it was forging among 20-30 Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels. We were fortunate to have four spotters on the trip and after conferring, we agreed that it was not a Leach’s and in fact, with no white on the rump and other field marks, it was a more than likely a Ashy! No photos were taken during this first sighting and we hoped for a second visit.

After a 20 minute wait, it came back to the area about 30m off our stern and gave us all great views with many photos taken! Interestingly, no Leach’s Storm-Petrel’s were seen.

We had 9 birders on this trip and several for their first pelagic. What a great way to get hooked on pelagic trips!

June also has been a great time from past records of South Polar Skua. We were able to spot an adult on the water and Phil Anderson, our captain, was able to bring the boat right next to it. This was a white-headed with white under parts, adult morph. We usually get the golden naped juveniles. I had never seen this before and it was truly a gorgeous bird.

June also has the potential for passerine over-shoots. A male MacGillivray’s Warbler found us at 35 miles offshore and probably continued on to not a pleasant outcome.

Other highlights include: 2 Ancient Murrelets, 1 Tufted Puffin, a June record setting 441 Cassin’s Auklets! (the old record was 91). Mammal highlights included 24! Humpbacked Whales, several that did a full out of the water breach and 11 Pacific White-sided Dolphins.

Despite a somewhat bumpy ride out, the rewards were incredible. There were many smiles on a smooth ride back.

Many thanks to the birders who came on this trip and to the expertise of piloting the boat and spotting by Phil and Chris Anderson. For future trips, information and to make reservations, please visit our website at www.westportseabirds.com

Spotters for this trip were Bill Tweit, Scott Mills, Gene Revelas and myself.

Bruce LaBar

























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