[Tweeters] Westport Pelagic summary September 8, 2019

Bruce LaBar blabar at harbornet.com
Mon Sep 9 13:44:25 PDT 2019

From: Kelly Beach
Sent: Sunday, September 8, 2019 9:04 PM
To: Ryan Merrill
Cc: Bruce Labar
Subject: Re: Westport Pelagic summary September 8, 2019

Hello all,

Another eventful trip for Westport Seabirds this Sunday! We had an awesome group join us today, many who just completed the Seattle Audubon Master Birders class- Congratulations! Weather conditions varied throughout the day, making it a true Washington September day! We had some really close looks, great lighting, and a few amazingly cooperative birds. Highlights included a fairly close and cooperative Scripp's Murrelet pair, incredible looks at a close Short-tailed Shearwater, great numbers of Arctic Terns and Sabine's Gulls, a close Pomarine Jaeger (with tail!), high numbers of Cassin's auklets, breaching humpback whales, and one GIGANTIC Mola Mola (Ocean Sunfish).

The outbound leg began with some light rain and some of the usual suspects including Sooty Shearwaters, Common Murres, and Rhinoceros Auklets. We eventually came upon two Red-necked Phalaropes sitting in a tide rip who stayed put for some great viewing, which was nice since they were our only phalaropes of the day. Soon after, we came across a feeding group of 8 Arctic Terns and 1 Sabine’s Gull , which offered really good looks of all two of these beautiful birds. Not soon after, we began seeing Pink-footed shearwaters as well as our first Buller's shearwater of ten for the day! The lighting was perfect for seeing the white flash of the underwing and their striking upperwing pattern.

As we got further offshore we started seeing some Fork-tailed Storm Petrels, and more Arctic Terns, as well as bigger numbers of Pink-footed shearwaters partially due to the presence of trawlers. By this point the rain had cleared and we hung out for a while, taking time to admire the huge group. It was here that we saw our first Black-footed Albatross of the day. As we went to the deeper waters, we started to see several hundred Cassin’s Auklets! At our chum spot, we had a flyby adult Pomarine Jaeger that everyone got great views. With light winds and only mild success, we decided to head back to the trawlers and explore that a bit more. It was on this second pass that we had amazing close looks at Northern Fulmar, more Sabine's Gulls and Black-footed Albatross, and one prime-time look at an extremely close and cooperative Short-tailed Shearwater. We reluctantly began heading back after spending some real quality time with this large group of birds.

Not too soon after we began our inbound trip, we came across a real treasure- two Scripps’s Murrelets sitting on the water within 100ft of the boat. We got some very nice looks at them for a minute or two before they flushed and some folks were able to get photos.

The second half of the trip back was quite rainy and wet, but luckily due to the great sightings prior to this it gave us the resilience to weather the showers.

Other totals of note- two Pomarine, two Parasitic, and three Long-tailed jaegers, a total of 52 Arctic terns, 79 Sabine's Gulls, and 391 Cassin's auklets!

On the marine mammal front, we had low numbers of seals, sea lions, and porpoise, but made up for that with playful humpbacks! A definite highlight of the day was a close-in youngster and an energetic full-body breaching individual- bringing our humpback total to eight. In addition, we had quite a few blue sharks and one gigantic Mola Mola not five feet from the boat.

Thanks to all of the enthusiastic birders who came out today! Spotters for today were Bruce LeBar, Ryan Merrill, and Kelly Beach. Many thanks to Captain Phil and Chris Anderson for a stellar September day out of Westport on the Monte Carlo.

Kelly Beach
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