[Tweeters] Westport Pelagic Trip, Sept. 10, 2019. Cassin's Auklets, Sabine's Gulls and Mammal highlights!

Bruce LaBar blabar at harbornet.com
Wed Sep 11 15:02:39 PDT 2019


Another incredible day on mostly glassy waters, partly cloudy skies and with 20 very excited birders from Victor Emanuel Nature Tours.

Inshore waters provided the usual first Sooty Shearwaters and Common Murres ,which are good study birds for later encounters with other shearwaters and alcids. Once we got into the offshore waters, we slowly picked up various seabirds until we got to a shrimp boat. Near this boat and before we got over the continental shelf, we saw 26 Black-footed Albatross, 6 Northern Fulmars, 186 Pink-footed Shearwaters, 12 Buller’s Shearwaters, 127 Sooty Shearwaters, 2 Short-tailed Shearwaters and 4 Fork-tailed Storm Petrels. Fishing boats are obviously a huge attraction for seabirds because of by-catch. During this time, we also saw our first South Polar Skua, 2 Pomarine and 1 Parasitic Jaegers. Two crowd pleasing Tufted Puffins were seen, with one of them remaining on the water for great looks. The beginning of large numbers of Sabine’s Gulls (211) and Cassin’s Auklets (51) were also in this area.

In the deeper waters the Cassin’s Auklets seemed to be everywhere with 1100 recorded! The glassy waters helped a lot to see these small alcids. Sabine’s Gulls continued in numbers with 121 seen. With the calm waters our chum spot didn’t attract as many birds . However, as we motored along in these deep waters, we started seeing many splashes in the distance. Within a few minutes we were surrounded by 100 Risso’s Dolphins, 60 Pacific White-sided Dolphins and 3 Northern Right Whale Dolphins!! Phil Anderson turned off the engines and we just sat there listening to the blows from these great mammals. I believe this was the highlight for many on board.

Other highlights through out the day include 9 Humpback Whales (one that breached), 2 Dall’s Porpoise, 6 Arctic Terns and 1 Red Phalarope . 1 Wandering Tattler, 1 Black Turnstone, 1 Marbled Godwit and 2 Surfbirds were seen on the jetty or nearby on our return.

Many thanks to the Vent Tour led by Shawneen Finnegan and George Gerdts.
Spotters for Westport Seabirds were Scott Mills and Bruce LaBar. Boat personnel and spotters were Phil and Chris Anderson.

For total numbers from this trip and for all information about our pelagic trips, please visit our website at www.westportseabirds.com

Bruce LaBar
Tacoma, WA
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