May 9-10, 2009 Buena Vista Audubon Society Deep Water Pelagic Aboard Grande
Red-billed Tropicbird (not shown) was seen following the shown first Laysan's Albatross.
Maps courtesy of Matt Sadowski. A deep water Black-vented Shearwater was also seen at the shelf edge.
Laysan Albatross (c) Dave Pereksta aboard Grande May 2009 chartered by Buena Vista Audubon Society
Cook's Petrel (c) Dave Pereksta Grande May 2009 SoCalBirding Pelagic Seabirding Trip from San Diego
Grande departed Saturday morning May 9, 2009 at 6:00 a.m., escorted from the harbor by Least, Elegant and Caspian Terns. One Black-vented Shearwater was seen nearshore, and before we arrived at the Nine Mile Bank (11 miles off shore and 9 miles long) we were seeing Black Storm-Petrels and Sooty Shearwaters.
At the Nine Mile Bank we saw an unusually-close-to-the-mainland Skua, 2 Sabine’s Gulls, a Northern Fulmar, 4 Pink-footed Shearwaters, 17 more Sooties and picked up our first two of nearly 50 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES of the trip. Alcids included a Rhino Auklet, ten Cassin’s Auklets and 7 Xantus’s Murrelets.
Continuing west from the Nine Mile we encountered more albatrosses, fulmars, shearwaters and storm-petrels, as well as both Red and Red-necked Phalarope. We saw 35 Xantus’s Murrelets on Saturday, some accompanied by downy young (see map).
Grande has never missed on Red-Billed Tropicbird on the weekend overnight trips and this trip was no exception – just beyond the Thirty Mile Bank at the San Clemente Basin we flushed a RED-BILLED TROPICBIRD and picked up our first two of 14 LAYSAN ALBATROSSES for the trip.
We awoke Sunday morning in 120 nautical miles (230 km) due southwest of San Diego, due west of Ensenada Mexico, on the edge of the Continental Shelf, just north of the Mexican border.
It was in these deep waters that participants were wowed by three COOK’S PETRELS (with some great photos obtained). This is as far south and west as a birder can get in ABA waters in a weekend and we were rewarded in the morning with more than 50 Leach’s Storm-Petrels, 17 of them identified as white-rumped, 26 dusky-rumped. Perhaps most surprising was a deep-water Black-vented Shearwater at the shelf edge.
It was also out here that a distant pterodroma arced several times on the horizon. It appeared larger than a Cook’s Petrel, and those who saw it dorsally thought it had a dark head and rump. We turned Grande to chase it but never saw it again. There was lots of speculation of what it probably was, but it shall forever be a dark-rumped pterodroma that got away on this day.
We were surprised to see two HYPOLEUCUS subspecies adults just north of the Mexican border, approximately 120 nautical miles from San Diego and 135 miles from their breeding ground on Guadalupe Island.
Other species seen throughout the trip were three LONG-TAILED JAEGERS, two ASHY STORM-PETRELS and 4 SABINE’S GULLS.
Thanks to Jon Feenstra for tabulating and entering the sightings into eBird. Thanks, too, to Matt Sadowski for creating the labeled Google maps affording outstanding visual context for what we saw and where we were when we saw it.
Finally, a big thank you to our tireless and fearless leaders who were on their feet for the better part of 16 hours a day in a tireless effort to find birds – and find them they did: Todd McGrath, Paul Lehman, Brad Schram, Jon Feenstra, Dave Pereksta and our fearless chummer, Wesley T. Fritz.
Scroll down for trip totals.
Xantus's Murrelet hypoleucus (c) Tom Blackman aboard Grande May 2009 deep water pelagic seabirding trip from San Diego
Laysan Albatross (c) Tom Blackman
Tom Blackman and Dave Pereksta
Laysan Albatross (c) Tom Blackman
Jon Feensta: "Wow, I can't believe we saw a hypoleucus Xantus's in the spring! That was really neat!" Wes Fritz: "I thought those Cook's Petrels were the bee's knees!" Brad Schram: "I love coming down here to San Diego to see Tropicbirds!" Todd McGrath: "Wes, why aren't you chumming?"
Cook's Petrel (c) Tom Blackman
Maps courtesy of Matt Sadowski
Long-tailed Jaeger (c) Tom Blackman on Grande from San Diego chartered by Buena Vista Audubon Society
Paul Lehman and Brad Schram
Notable Trip Totals
South Polar Skua1
Xantus’s Murrelet35(2 hypoleucus)
SPECIES LIST BY LOCATION AND COUNTY
Location: San Diego Harbor Shelter Island to harbor mouth Observation date: 5/9/09 Grande pelagic trip. Transit from dock to harbor mouth. Mallard 1 Brown Pelican 45 Brandt's Cormorant 200 Double-crested Cormorant 2 Great Blue Heron 2 Great Egret 3 Snowy Egret 6 Black-crowned Night-Heron 5 Heermann's Gull 30 Western Gull 100 Caspian Tern 2 Elegant Tern 4
Location: San Diego County - nearshore waters Observation date: 5/9/09 Notes: Transit from SD harbor to the Nine Mile Bank. Grande pelagic trip. Pacific Loon 23 Common Loon 2 Sooty Shearwater 10 Black-vented Shearwater 1 Black Storm-Petrel 4 Brown Pelican 35 Brandt's Cormorant 4 Heermann's Gull 20 Western Gull 30 Least Tern 3 Forster's Tern 2 Elegant Tern 9 Mourning Dove 1
Location: Nine Mile Bank – San Diego County (USA) Observation date: 5/9/09 Common Loon 3 Black-footed Albatross 2 Northern Fulmar 1 Pink-footed Shearwater 4 Sooty Shearwater 17 Black Storm-Petrel 56 Brandt's Cormorant 1 Red-necked Phalarope 13 phalarope sp. 70 Sabine's Gull 2 Elegant Tern 22 South Polar Skua 1 jaeger sp. 1 Xantus's Murrelet (scrippsi) 7 Cassin's Auklet 10 Rhinoceros Auklet 1
Location: San Diego County - 30 Mile Bank Observation date: 5/9/09 Notes: Transit from 9 Mile to 30 Mile Bank - still in SD County Brant (Black) 5 Black-footed Albatross 2 Northern Fulmar 2 Pink-footed Shearwater 1 Sooty Shearwater 12 Black Storm-Petrel 10 Brandt's Cormorant 1 Red-necked Phalarope 45 phalarope sp. 22 Sabine's Gull 1 Western Gull 30 Elegant Tern 6 Cassin's Auklet 2 Rhinoceros Auklet 1 Mourning Dove 1
Location: San Clemente Basin (Los Angeles Co.) Observation date: 5/9/09 Transit over the San Clemente Basin from the 30 mile bank in SD en route to the Butterfly Bank and 60 Mile Bank. Laysan Albatross 2 Black-footed Albatross 4 Northern Fulmar 3 Pink-footed Shearwater 2 Sooty Shearwater 5 Leach's Storm-Petrel 1 Ashy Storm-Petrel 2 Black Storm-Petrel 60 Red-billed Tropicbird 1 Red-necked Phalarope 10 Red Phalarope 3 Western Gull 35 California Gull 2 Common/Arctic Tern 1 Xantus's Murrelet (scrippsi) 6 Brown-headed Cowbird 1
Location: Butterfly Bank (Los Angeles Co.) Observation date: 5/9/09 Butterfly Bank and Sixty Mile Bank, both LA County. Laysan Albatross 2 1 followed us from the San Clemente Basin Black-footed Albatross 9 2 followed us from the San Clemente Basin Northern Fulmar 3 Pink-footed Shearwater 1 Sooty Shearwater 8 Black Storm-Petrel 22 Red Phalarope 3 Western Gull 1 Long-tailed Jaeger 2 Xantus's Murrelet (scrippsi) 22 Rhinoceros Auklet 2 Brown-headed Cowbird 1 Landed on the boat in San Clemente Basin and we carried it for a while.
Location: Shelf edge - SW ABA Limit - (Los Angeles Co.) Observation date: 5/10/09 Shelf edge south of Cortez Bank, riding south east. Laysan Albatross 3 Black-footed Albatross 9 Cook's Petrel 2 Pink-footed Shearwater 2 Sooty Shearwater 4 Leach's Storm-Petrel 38 11 white-rumped, 23 dusky-rumped, 4 unidentified Red Phalarope 5 Western Gull 15 Pomarine Jaeger 1 Long-tailed Jaeger 1 Rhinoceros Auklet 5
Location: Bell Bank - US Waters - (Los Angeles Co.) Observation date: 5/10/09 Transit east from the shelf edge to/over the Bell Bank. Waters. Laysan Albatross 2 Black-footed Albatross 5 Cook's Petrel 1 Sooty Shearwater 1 Leach's Storm-Petrel 16 6 white-rumped, 3 dusky-rumped, 7 unidentified Black Storm-Petrel 1 Pomarine Jaeger 1 Xantus's Murrelet (hypoleucus) 2 Rhinoceros Auklet 1 Wilson's Warbler 1
Location: Chemical Munitions Dumping Grounds (Los Angeles Co.) Observation date: 5/10/09 Transit north from the Bell Bank over the Chemical Munitions Dumping area. Laysan Albatross 4 1 followed us from the Bell Bank Black-footed Albatross 13 5 followed us from the Bell Bank Pink-footed Shearwater 3 Leach's Storm-Petrel 3 all white-rumped Sabine's Gull 1 Rhinoceros Auklet 1
Location: Mushroom Bank (Los Angeles Co.) Observation date: 5/10/09 Transit to Mushroom and sitting on a slick until dark. Grande pelagic. Laysan Albatross 1 Followed us from the Dumping Grounds Black-footed Albatross 3 2 followed us from Dumping Grounds Sooty Shearwater 1 Leach's Storm-Petrel 4 2 white-rumped, 2 dark-rumped. One of the white-rumped birds was possibly a Guadalupe bird. Black Storm-Petrel 1 Western Gull 1 Pomarine Jaeger 1 Townsend's Warbler 1
Weekend double-overnight trips have but one purpose: to get to underwater ridges and domes 100 miles or more offshore where albatross and pterodroma are usually found only by research ships because no day trips venture this far.
We'll depart on Grande Saturday morning at 6:00 a.m. from Point Loma Sportsfishing marina. We'll head directly west to explore the bird-rich Nine-mile bank, then head west, spending the day looking for birds among the life zones of 'the 182," the 30 mile bank and the 60 mile bank.
We'll proceed west all night, past San Clemente Island, past the Cortez and Tanner banks, all to the edge of the Continental Shelf where we will awaken on Sunday morning to inspect the results of the giant chum slick laid just prior to dawn.
The day will be ours to explore the shelf edge, the Cortez and Tanner banks. Where we will go depends on the weather, the seas, temperature breaks, bird reports and bird sightings. After spending all Sunday "out there" we will proceed Sunday evening back to the mainland, arriving at the dock Monday morning by 6:15 a.m. More information on the trip and itinerary.....
ADVANCE RESERVATIONS: Advance reservations are $265.
RESERVATIONS BY PHONE (Check or Credit Card): Telephone Point Loma Sportfishing (the landing) seven days a week at (619) 223-1627. Tell them to wish to make a reservation for a birding trip on Grande and give them the date of departure. ON-LINE RESERVATIONS:Register On-Line. Past trip participants may enter your user name. New participants will be prompted to create a user name and password, then make your reservation for one or more "anglers" (the landing's website refers to customers - you - as anglers). If you have any questions, please telephone the landing at (619) 223-1627.
PAY IN FULL: Some fishing trips allow "anglers" to pay 50% at signup and the balance the day of the trip. Regardless of what the boiler-plate language on the site says, all birding trips requirepayment in full (even if the website or telephone rep gives you an option to pay 50%).
IMPORTANT DETAILS: Click for IMPORTANT INFORMATION about the boat, the landing, driving directions, maps, lodging, weather, refund and cancellation policies, on-board facilities, meals and snacks,
HOW TO PREPARE: Click for tips on how to prepare, what to wear, what to bring and when to arrive.
EXPECTED & POSSIBLE SPECIES: Black-footed Albatross is frequent in June. Murphy's Petrel is a rare but routine spring visitor in shallow waters over the continental shelf mid-April through early June. A Hawaiian Petrel was seen from a NOAA research trip off Peacadero 23 May 2007. Dozens of Cook's Petrels were seen by Searcher crew on fishing trips in June 2007 in deep water off the Baja and San Diego Coast. The endemic Ashy Storm-petrel, one of the rarest storm-petrels in the world, are fairly common this time of year, mostly in the northern Channel Islands, where Searcher spends the entire second day. There are 10 SoCal records (4 accepted) of Wedge-rumped Storm-petrel in SoCal from May to October. Black Storm-petrels are common in June. We will be in Red-billed Tropicbird waters. We will probably see South Polar Skua, Pomarine Jaegers, Parasitic Jaegers, a Long-tailed Jaeger and Sabine's Gull. Xantus's Murrelets will be plentiful. A Tufted Puffin was seen in the Channel Islands in May, 2002 and a Horned Puffin was seen 17 May 2007 between Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz Islands. It's a bit like a treasure hunt - we never know what we'll find! Learn more about what species we will probably see and what species might be seen.
CANCELLATION POLICY: Trips on this website are sponsored by different organizations using different boats departing from different landings and harbors. As such, policies vary from trip to trip. Prior to registering, please familiarize yourself with your trip's policies regarding reservations, cancellations, refunds and substitutions as well as reviewing driving directions, check-in times, procedures and equipment allowed on the boats.
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