[Tweeters] Westport Seabirds Trip Report--HAWAIIAN PETREL--08 21 2022

Cindy McCormack nwbirder at gmail.com
Mon Aug 22 16:10:05 PDT 2022

Hi everyone!

What an incredible day! We started with a mild morning; the overnight light
rain didn’t cool much down. The light cloud cover and calm winds made for a
smooth and warm trip. Surface water temperature remained around 64F
throughout the trip. Guests included travelers from the Pacific Northwest,
Arizona, South Carolina, and Alabama. We were all prepared for the chilly
open ocean, but almost everyone started shedding layers by midmorning!

As we traveled from inshore to offshore waters, COMMON MURRE (1130) were
easily found, but with surprisingly few juveniles (13). With the swells
being very subtle and some areas almost with a glassy surface made for easy
viewing and comparison of RED-NECKED (143) and RED (40) PHALAROPES, most
have already completely molted into basic plumage.

Our route into the offshore waters eventually took us towards a drag boat
and a small fleet of shrimp boats, where we could see swarms of birds
massing at the base of each boat. The first boat had an incredible number
(3335), but the shrimpers only had a few Short-tailed mixed in with the
Sooty Shearwaters and PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS (681). Several scattered
were encountered near these boats.

As we approached deeper water, ARCTIC TERNS (5) allowed for great viewing,
both in flight and while perched on nearby floating logs. A few SABINE'S
GULLS (30) were also taking advantage of the transient perches, but we were
able to better appreciate their beautiful markings during flight.

Past the shelf, we stopped to chum. Unfortunately, the calm winds and seas
didn’t help visualize the slick or carry the scent far. A few distant
FORK-TAILED STORM-PETRELS (8) and a Black-footed Albatross made a brief
appearance. Everyone on board relaxed, grabbed some lunch, and chatted
while we waited for the chum to do its work when the biggest surprise for
the day showed up. An abrupt shout from Scott Mills got everyone's
attention, as a single *HAWAIIAN PETREL* jetted through, right along the
port side of the boat from bow to stern at about eye level, close enough to
see the white forehead and underparts, and sharply contrasting all-dark
uppers and hood, all on a sleek, long-winged bird. There was a great deal
of shouting and camera shutters were clicking like mad! Second record for
Westport Seabirds. Woo-hoo!

Our first jaeger of the day, a LONG-TAILED JAEGER (1), was spotted as we
were still in the deep waters past the shelf, and we encountered several
POMARINE JAEGER (6) with prominent and intact tail “spoons” as we headed
back into shallower waters.

As we headed back from the shelf, Captain Phil headed for a pair of
shrimpers with masses of seabirds congregating around them. As we
approached, we located a gorgeous and cooperative LAYSAN ALBATROSS sitting
amongst one of the boat’s collection of shearwaters, Northern Fulmars,
gulls, and Black-footed Albatross. It seemed content to stay put, allowing
for several viewing passes. An actively diving TUFTED PUFFIN, still in
striking breeding plumage, was also spotted in this area. Since there were
still a few on the boat that hadn’t seen it before it dove, we were
pleasantly surprised to find it popping back to the surface just a few feet
off the stern, giving everyone the best view possible.

Ocean sunfish (Mola mola) (24) were frequently encountered, ranging from
the very small to enormous, easily spotted in the calm seas when waving
their dorsal fin above the surface. The dorsal fin and tail tip of the Blue
Shark (23) also were a bit easier to spot on the smooth water as well.
Marine mammals encountered include Humpback Whale (8), Dall’s Porpoise
(14), Harbor Porpoise (13), Harbor Seal (1), Northern Fur Seal (1),
Elephant Seal (2), and both California and Steller’s Sea Lions.

The rock piper check along the jetty only yielded a few WANDERING TATTLERS
(3), but the view of the usual flock of MARBLED GODWITS (750) inside the
boat basin was appreciated by everyone on board.

What a fabulous day of pelagic birding with enthusiastic birders! Many
guests departed with several life birds and satisfying viewing
opportunities for those birds. Excitement over the Hawaiian Petrel hadn't
abated--what a great bird! A state mammal big year record was also broken
on this trip!
For a complete list of trip species and numbers, visit the Westport
Seabirds website (https://westportseabirds.com). Many thanks to Captain
Phil and first mate Chris Anderson, and spotters Scott Mills and Bill
Shelmerdine for a memorable trip!

Cindy* (rookie spotter)*
*for Westport Seabirds*
Cindy McCormack
Vancouver, WA
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