Bruce LaBar blabar at harbornet.com
Sun Jul 25 15:23:38 PDT 2021

Nineteen enthusiastic birders (including a family of six) boarded the Monte Carlo for an early 5:30 departure.
With veteran pelagic birders, others from South Carolina, Ohio and Oregon, we ventured out to the harbor and were met with a fog bank and some choppy water.
After an hour, we were finally able to get good visibility and started to record.
Sooty Shearwaters, Common Murres, California Gulls were the most frequent birds observed during the beginning of our journey.

We’re always hoping to encounter commercial fishing boats which attract hundreds of birds. At first our radar didn’t show much fishing activity.
Then, we spotted a fleet of shrimp boats which had a cloud of birds behind them. At last!
There was so many birds it was hard to sort through them!
Black-footed Albatross, Northern Fulmars, Pink-footed Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwaters, 3 Short-tailed Shearwaters, 1 Flesh-footed Shearwater that was photographed but seen by few,
Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels, many California Gulls, 1 Tufted Puffin that flew several times around the boat, 1 Parasitic Jaeger and Cassin’s and Rhinoceros Auklets.

Heading into deeper water, we saw one Leach’s Storm Petrel and our first of six Humpback Whales. At our chum spot in the middle of Grays Canyon, we had very few birds because most were probably at the fishing boats that we had left.

Back to the boats we headed. Again, we were met with lots of bird activity. South Polar Skua, 3 Arctic Terns, 5 Sabine’s Gulls, 1 Pomarine Jaeger and great looks at 3 more Short-tailed Shearwaters.
A call went out that there was another sighting of a Flesh-footed Shearwater. After lots of searching, we were able to view this bird on the water and close to the boat.
Based on photographs, this could have been the same individual seen earlier.

Heading back to the harbor with increasing wind, we saw 2 more Tufted Puffins and another South Polar Skua.
We didn’t look for shorebirds along the jetty but saw many Brown Pelicans, Brandt’s and Double-crested Cormorants and Heermann’s Gulls.

Here is a list of some of the birds seen with numbers that we recorded: Black-footed Albatross-119, Northern Fulmar-105, Pink-footed Shearwater-415, Sooty Shearwater-3880, Short-tailed Shearwater-6, 1 or 2 Flesh-footed Shearwater, Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel-366, 1 Leach’s Storm Petrel, 1 Whimbrel ( out by fishing boats, flying high), Red-necked Phalarope-9, South Polar Skua-2, Pomarine Jaeger-1, Parasitic Jaeger-2, Sabine’s Gull-5, Arctic Tern-3, Common Murre-102, Pigeon Guillimot-2, Cassin’s Auklet-49, Rhinoceros Auklet-178 and 3 Tufted Puffin. Mammal highlights were: Humpback Whale-6, Gray Whale-1, Dall’s Porpoise-2 and 1 Elephant Seal.

Many thanks to all for their input, sightings and energy (especially the three young boys)!!

For further information and schedule, please visit our website at www.westportseabirds.com

Spotters for the trip were Bill Tweit, Scott Mills and myself. Boat personnel, spotters and host were Phil and Chris Anderson.

Bruce LaBar

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