[Tweeters] Westport Seabirds September 21 pelagic trip report

Jim Danzenbaker jdanzenbaker at gmail.com
Sun Sep 26 15:43:02 PDT 2021

Hi Tweeters,

An unusual situation greeted the participants, staff, and crew of the *Monte
Carlo* on last Tuesday's Westport Seabirds trip to Grays Canyon - sunshine
throughout the day! Therefore, the silver wing linings of the Sooty
Shearwaters (226) encountered over the Continental Shelf showed more than
on other trips and the underwing and underparts of Pink-footed Shearwaters
(4,241!!) were quite noticeable at a great distance. Much to the delight
of everyone from the Wildside Nature Tours x 2, the sunshine stayed and
continued to highlight the contrasting colors of pelagic species including
beautifully marked Buller's Shearwaters (34), the pink bill of the
Flesh-footed Shearwaters (3), and the oft underappreciated varying shades
of gray of the Northern Fulmar (94). The pearl gray of the
diminutive Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel (13), the first of which stayed on the
water next to the Monte Carlo for at least 5 minutes, was also brighter
than normal. Black-footed Albatrosses (24) cruised by at the shrimp boats
and seemingly also enjoyed the change in the weather. Short-tailed
Shearwaters (1,335) continued to outperform this season with Pink-footed
Shearwaters being the only tubenose to outnumber them at the shrimp boats.
Sabine's Gulls (71), always a delight to see, were very cooperative today
and I heard many camera clicks when they came close.

On the way to the shelf edge and the shrimp boats, we encountered a good
pulse of migration with all three of the expected species of loons
(Red-throated: 6, Pacific: 1, Common 24) and Surf (91) and White-winged
Scoters (17) too. These were replaced by Common Murres (252), Cassin's
Auklets (38), and a few Rhinoceros Auklets (11) as we ventured further
offshore. Red-necked Phalaropes (18) continued to be few and far between
although recorded on every Westport Seabirds trip this year. Pomarine
Jaegers (2) flew through but stayed a fair distance from us.

Several highlights of the trip for me included 4 individual South Polar
Skuas (my favorite bird!), three Flesh-footed Shearwaters a season high
number of Buller's Shearwaters and, as expected, the incredible tubenose
show at the shrimp boats with squeaking Pink-footed Shearwaters leading the

There must have been something in the water which motivated the Humpback
Whales (14) to be particularly feisty today with at least one doing
repeated full body breaches to the delight of all. Gray Whales (8),
Northern Fur Seal (1), Harbor Porpoise (3), Steller's (2) and California
Sea Lions (3), Harbor Seals (26) and mola molas (Ocean Sunfish) (4) rounded
out the non-avian show.

After rounding the bend and entering the inner harbor at Westport, we
looked to the left at the 140,000 pounds of Sea Lions on the Coast Guard
platforms and then to the right for the lineup of shorebirds on the seawall
which included an astonishing 115 Black Turnstones, 2 Surfbirds, a
Whimbrel, and a Ruddy Turnstone. The Marbled Godwit flock that we saw in
the morning must have moved to another high tide roost. You never know
what will be here. The trip's not over 'til it's over!

Captain Phil and first mate Chris Anderson as well as the three guides
today, Scott Mills, Bill Shelmerdine, and me, thank Chris and Alex and the
Wildside Nature Tour participants for their enthusiasm and smiling faces!

All the remaining Westport Seabirds trips this year are full but keep
checking the website (https://westportseabirds.com/2021-schedule-new/) for
any last minute openings. I hope to see you on a future Westport Seabirds

Jim Danzenbaker for Westport Seabirds.
Jim Danzenbaker
Battle Ground, WA
jdanzenbaker at gmail.com
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