[Tweeters] Westport Seabirds Trip Report June 19, 2021 – Birds and Mammals

Gene Revelas grevelas at integral-corp.com
Wed Jun 23 14:03:51 PDT 2021

Hi Tweets,

We enjoyed another fun day on the water with Westport Seabirds last Saturday, June 19th. We had NW wind at the marina so we knew that we would have a bumpy ride out across the bar and nearshore. However, the forecast called for nicer conditions offshore, so we put our trust in the forecast (and Captain Phil Anderson) and headed out at 5:30 am in full, summer solstice daylight. We had a nice mix of 18 birders onboard, about half of them from Washington, and the others from South Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, and Idaho. The seas were bumpy and confused from the harbor mouth to about the 50-fathom line so the birding was physically challenging but the birds were there. In the harbor and along the inshore transit, we recorded Pigeon Guillemots, a couple of Heerman’s Gulls, Brown Pelicans, the three Cormorant species, one Pacific Loon, many California and Western/Glaucous-winged hybrid Gulls (most in heavy molt), Common Murres (low numbers all day), many Rhinoceros Auklets, the first of two flyby Tufted Puffins, Sooty Shearwaters, a Northern Fulmar (surprisingly far inshore), and four, spouting Gray Whales.

Further offshore and to the Grays Canyon edge, the seas and our ride did improve. We added the first of many (161) Cassin’s Auklets for the day, and our expected tubenose species; Black-footed Albatross, Pink-footed Shearwaters, and Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels. We got an all too brief look at one “Comic” Tern that was likely an Arctic, but Common could not be ruled out. During a quiet stretch, three Ancient Murrelets appeared right next to the boat. It was an adult and two, cute, still-flightless chicks swimming as hard as they could. I personally could not recall seeing ANMU chicks previously on a Westport trip. We also added two of the 12 Humpback Whales we would for the day, including a half dozen repeatedly breaching and tail and flipper slapping at a distance.

In deep water over the canyon, we added more Black-footed Albatross and Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels, and our first of four Leach’s Storm-Petrels, two of which cooperatively came into our chum and provided great comparison with the Fork-tails and close photo ops. About 40 crowd-pleasing Pacific White-sided Dolphins joined us at one point, riding our bow wave and wake for a bit. A very large, not-so-cute, Ocean Sunfish was also a spectacle. When we turned east to head home, the ride improved further with the following sea, the skies were cloudy but bright, and the marine mammal show continued. We saw the six, active humpbacks noted above, two Minke Whales (not annual on Westport trips) that surfaced only twice but were seen and photographed by the folks looking their way, and some more White-sided Dolphins.

We did not add any more seabird species on the return trip, but we did add Harbor Porpoise and Stellers Sea Lion to the mammal list. Finally, an adult Peregrine Falcon sitting with the gulls on the top of Westport Jetty was a nice ending to a great day. As always, the Monte Carlo was crewed expertly by Phil and Chris Anderson, the spotters were Bill Tweit, Bruce LaBar, and Gene Revelas. Our 2021 season continues into October and openings are getting scarce, so please visit the Westport Seabirds website (westportseabirds.com) soon for trip schedules, information, and availability if you are interested in joining us this year.

Happy and safe birding!
Gene Revelas
Olympia, WA

Gene Revelas
Tel: 360.939.9618 | Cell: 360.870.4950
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