[Tweeters] Westport Seabirds Trip Report for August 10, 2022
jdanzenbaker at gmail.com
Mon Aug 15 10:07:02 PDT 2022
The rumble of thunderstorms earlier in the morning didn't prevent a hearty
group of birders convening at 5:30 on the *Monte Carlo* in the harbor at
Westport on Wednesday morning. Briefings completed, we briefly scanned the
Marbled Godwit flock feeding on the mud bank before heading to the bay and
out between the jetties and the ocean beyond.
SOOTY SHEARWATERs (4490), COMMON MURREs (360), and RHINOCEROS AUKLETs (72)
were in almost constant view as we motored over the Continental Shelf
toward the pelagic life that we were seeking. Mixed flocks of RED (3) and
RED-NECKED PHALAROPEs (18) were fleetingly seen. A distant PARASITIC
JAEGER (1) wasn't cooperative. As we approached the fishing fleet,
tubenose variety took center stage with SHORT-TAILED (75) and PINK-FOOTED
SHEARWATERs (66) joining the abundant Sootys, diminutive FORK-TAILED
STORM-PETRELs (123) worked the sea surface as more than the usual number of
BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSes (158) winged by. NORTHERN FULMARs (45) also
circled the boat which allowed for direct comparison with the shearwaters.
Many CALIFORNIA and WESTERN/GLAUCOUS-WINGED mixed GULLs were around as well
as several out of place BROWN PELICANs (35 offshore) which usually don't
stray more than 5 miles offshore. The fishing fleet wasn't doing much with
their nets so we didn't stay long, opting to head to deep water instead.
This proved to be a good plan.
There was a fair breeze as we reached our chum spot so it didn't take long
before the first LEACH'S STORM-PETREL (7) came into view. A treat was
seeing both Leach's and Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels feeding side by side.
The flight style, size, wing length, and plumage differences were easily
seen. Nearby, a mixed flock of SABINE'S GULLs (15), COMMON (7) and ARCTIC
TERNs (20) and a few unidentified sterna terns (15) were great to see. The
total number of Arctic Terns for the trip was more than I had seen for
quite a few years. A single flyby of the season's second BULLER'S
SHEARWATER (1) was much appreciated although it didn't stick around. We
were thrilled to enjoy incredible views of several full tailed adult
LONG-TAILED JAEGERs (4) which lit on the water for close approach. These
birds stayed near the *Monte Carlo* for at least ten minutes allowing us to
appreciate the feather by feather plumage and their brisk falcon-like
A flock of about 25 Pink-footed Shearwaters rested serenely on the water
and were in no hurry to leave. They may have been trying not to get
noticed by the SOUTH POLAR SKUA (1) that was also on the water right next
to the flock. The skua took flight and we all had great views of this
husky Antarctic breeder which followed the throngs of shearwaters to the
north to escape the austral winter. A single uncooperative POMARINE JAEGER
(1) was added to the list which gave us the coveted skua slam. Several
CASSIN'S AUKLETS (5) were seen by those on the bow.
Although not as numerous as we had hoped, mammals put in a few
appearances. A few HUMPBACK WHALEs (2) were enjoyed by all. The mammal
highlight of the trip was the mixed pod of PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED (70) and
NORTHERN RIGHT WHALE DOLPHINs (14). Initially, a few of the Northern Right
Whale Dolphins were leaping 5 feet in the air before the entire pod
approached the *Monte Carlo* for a ten minute bow riding show. Such
awesome views of these speedsters! I wonder if this was the same pod seen
on the Westport Seabirds trip 4 days before. Thanks Captain Phil for your
ability to attract these bow riding dolphins!
The trip back to shore gave us final chances to study shearwaters and
murres and auklets. We saw our first juvenile Common Murre of the season.
Both papa and chick seemed very content! The south jetty held 9 WANDERING
TATTLERs (9) which may be the most that I've seen on the jetty. As always,
our trip back was under the watchful eyes of lumbering STELLER'S SEA-LIONs
(6) on the channel markers and the HARBOR SEALs (4) inside the harbor. A
single Harbor Porpoise (1) was glimpsed. The MARBLED GODWIT flock inside
the harbor has grown to 600.
Westport Seabirds thanks all of the enthusiastic participants who make
these trips a success. Also, thanks to Captain Phil and first mate Chris
Sawin and a shout out to our guides Scott Mills, Gene Revelas and me.
Even though the Westport Seabirds schedule (
http://westportseabirds.com/2022-schedule/) shows all trips as full, it's
always a good idea to get on a waitlist and hope.
I hope to see you onboard!
Jim Danzenbaker for Westport Seabirds.
Battle Ground, WA
jdanzenbaker at gmail.com
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