[Tweeters] Westport Pelagic Trip, Oct. 5, 2019. GREAT SHEARWATER, SLATY-BACKED GULL, GLAUCOUS GULL

Bruce LaBar blabar at harbornet.com
Mon Oct 7 15:17:56 PDT 2019

Our last pelagic trip of the year exceeded expectations! With favorable weather, great sea conditions and a full boat of eager birders, we had some great highlights! First of all, the weather. We were lucky. Many times in October our trips have to cancel due to high winds and rough seas. Second, we had lots of birds, thanks in part to several shrimp boats that attracted hundreds of birds. Third, sightings of some rarities that always make the trip that more special.

While we were near several of the shrimpers in the morning, Gene Revelas said he was pretty sure he had just seen a GREAT SHEARWATER flying away in the sun toward several hundred other birds. He mentioned the field marks he had observed and for sure that was a Great Shearwater. We tried in vain to refind this rarity (only 9 records for Washington, most out of Westport). Later, one of our birders showed some photos and there was a perfect picture of the Great Shearwater, on the water before it flew. He was unaware at the time because of similar Buller’s Shearwaters nearby!

During this stop, we noticed a white gull among the California, Herring and others. It was a GLAUCOUS GULL, probably a second or third year bird. Many photos were taken of this beautiful gull. Another gull caught my eye and one of the birders took a photo. I thought it was a third year SLATY-BACKED GULL, which indeed the photo captured. Unfortunately, only a few birders got to see it before we motored on.

Other highlights and numbers: Black-footed Albatross-80, Northern Fulmar-259, Pink-footed Shearwater-749, Buller’s Shearwater-150, Sooty Shearwater-249, Short-tailed Shearwater-5, Fork-tailed Storm Petrel-7, South Polar Skua-4 (one that cruised by the boat for all to study!), Pomarine Jaeger-3, Cassin’s Auklet-156, Sabine’s Gull-5, Peregrine Falcon-1 (on the jetty coming in) and Marbled Godwit-1,080 on the docks by the coast guard station. Scott Mills, several weeks ago took a photo of this flock in the air. He counted every bird and came up with that number!!!!

Mammal highlights include: Humpback Whale-1, Gray Whale-1, Dall’s Porpoise-9 and Pacific White-sided Dolphin-2.

What a year! South Polar Skua’s, all three jaegers(several times), Scripps’s Murrelets (several times), Ancient Murrelet, Tufted Puffin, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Slaty-backed Gull, Glaucous Gull, Arctic Terns, Laysan Albatross(several times), Short-tailed Albatross (2 in April and 1 in Sept.), Great Shearwater, Flesh-footed Shearwater, Manx Shearwater, Leach’s Storm Petrels, plus all the regular seabirds!!

On behalf of Westport Seabirds, we thank you so much for supporting these great adventures! We hope to see you next season. Next year’s scheduled should be posted by Dec. 1. Any other questions or information can be found on our website at www.westportseabirds.com

Spotters for this trip were Scott Mills, Gene Revelas and myself. Boat personnel and spotters were Phil and Chris Anderson, who make all these great trips possible!!

Bruce LaBar
Tacoma, WA

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