Saturday, September 19, 2015

Newport Pelagic: Sept 19, 2015

The pelagic trip out of Newport today was fantastic.  The weather was perfect for a ride on the ocean.  The calm seas allowed us to spot many marine animals and alcids. Humpback Whales put on quite a show offshore. I would have preferred more wind and a few more of the larger pelagic birds; but the calm seas and the chance to see the alcids and other marine life was a refreshing change from the rough waters and well hidden whales and alcids that have been normal for me this year.

I know others got better shots of this whale, but here are mine.

This was a younger Humpback that was hanging out with the big ones,  I found it unusual to see a Humpback with an under-tail that was all black.

Other marine mammals seen:

Fin Whale
Gray Whale
California Sea Lion
Steller Sea Lion
Elephant Seal (huge one)
Northern Fur Seal
Dall Porpoise
Pacific White-sided Dolphin

On the way out we usually head south a bit first to see what alcids are off the beach.  These two Marbled Murrelets hung out on the surface for all to see. Nice view of their white collar.

Winter plumage Marbled Murrelets.  Too cute.

Cassin's Auklet

Sabine's Gulls played hide-and-seek with us for a bit, but once we got offshore they came right by the boat.  They always are a beautiful sight flying over the chum slick.

We saw one Laysan Albatross, and it was a beauty.

After a bit of reading I found out the Laysan bill quickly turns to adult looking once bird leaves the nest.   The face lacked the smokey cheeks of an adult.  Its plumage appeared fresh to me as well.  A band was noted on the leg.   I suppose we shall soon see when and where it hatched. I think it is first-year bird hatched in Mexico.

UPDATE:  It was hatched on the tiny rock known as El Zapato in the Isla Guadalupe chain in Mexico.  Isla Guadalupe is 219 nm south of San Diego, CA.  

The bird was hatched on Feb 13, 2015.  The bird fledged on June 10, 2015. The metallic band is GPE02517.

Information provided by the  Coordinadora de Gestión y Logística Proyecto Aves Marinas, Grupo de Ecología y Conservación de Islas, A.C. in Ensenada, Mexico. 

Ucky photo, but I think I see an entire set of nice fresh primaries of a juvenile bird.

That is a piece of popcorn it is flipping into its mouth.  In front is a Northern Fulmar.

The band was orange with blue letters: 4HO

South Polar Skuas are always worthy of a photo:

I saw a few Leach's Storm-Petrels, a very brief glimpse of a possible Ashy Storm-Petrel, all three expected shearwater and the jaeger/skua grand slam.

Thanks to Oregon Pelagic Tours, Enterprise and her crew and to Tom,Tim and Jim for being the guides.  

Breakdown of species seen:

19 September 2015 8 hr Fall Seabirds Pelagic FV Enterprise  Skipper Dave DeBelloy
Guides: Tim Shelmerdine, Jim Danzenbaker, Tom Snetsinger
Yaquina Bay  7:30 – 7:45
Surf Scoter  8 Brandt's Cormorant  35
Double-crested Cormorant  2 Pelagic Cormorant  10
Brown Pelican  15 Great Blue Heron  1
Sanderling  1 Western Gull 50
California Gull 50 California Sea Lion  1
Harbor seal 3

Offshore 0-5 Miles (south along beach and out)  7:45-8:38
Surf Scoter 1 White-winged Scoter 5
Pacific Loon 2 Common Loon  1
Western Grebe 5 Brandt's Cormorant  80
Brown Pelican 20 Sooty Shearwater  5
Common Murre 35 Marbled Murrelet  11
Cassin's Auklet 1 Rhinoceros Auklet  5
Heermann's Gull 8 Western Gull 50
California Gull 50 Gray whale  1
California sea lion 1 Blue shark 1

Offshore to first chum spot   8:38-11:05
Black-footed Albatross  15 Northern Fulmar  6
Pink-footed Shearwater  52 Buller's Shearwater  4
Sooty Shearwater  50 Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel  4
Leach's Storm-Petrel 1 Red-necked Phalarope  3
Red Phalarope  12 South Polar Skua  3
Pomarine Jaeger  1 Common Murre  40
Rhinoceros Auklet  45 Cassin's Auklet  7
Sabine's Gull  3 Western Gull 3
California Gull  20 Arctic Tern  3
Fin whale 1 (seen by few) Humpback whale 4
Dall's porpoise 17 Northern Fur Seal  2
Harbor seal 1 Elephant seal 1 (seen by few)
Blue shark 24 Ocean Sunfish  2

Chum Spot  #1 (near long line fishing boat) 11:05-12:00
GPS 44.49264 N, 124. 76731 W
Black-footed Albatross  20 Laysan Albatross 1
Northern Fulmar  10 Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel  5
Pink-footed Shearwater  11 Sooty Shearwater  1
Red Phalarope 5 South Polar Skua  1
Rhinoceros Auklet 3 Sabine's Gull  2
California Gull  30 Western Gull  2
Herring Gull 1 Arctic Tern  3

Chum Spot  #2 (approximately 34 miles offshore, 200 ft line) 12:20-12:40
GPS (approximate)  44.49390 N, 124. 84704 W
Black-footed Albatross 1 Fork-tailed Storm-petrel 1

Return from Second Chum Spot to Third  12;40-1:00
Black-footed Albatross 3 Northern Fulmar 1
Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel 10 Leach's Storm-Petrel 1
Ashy Storm-Petrel 1 (fly-by, seen by few) Pink-footed Shearwater 5
Sooty Shearwater 1 Red-necked Phalarope 3
Parasitic Jaeger 1 Sabine's Gull 3

Chum Spot  #3 (near first long-liner) 1:00-1:35
GPS  44.51275 N, 124.74573 W
Black-footed Albatross 150 Laysan Albatross 1 (prob. same as earlier one)
Northern Fulmar 10 Fork-tailed Storm-petrel 5
Pink-footed Shearwater 10 Sooty Shearwater 3
Red Phalarope 3 Long-tailed Jaeger 1
Sabine's Gull 8 California Gull 12
Arctic Tern 1 Blue shark 2

Return to 5 miles offshore  1:35-3:21
Black-footed Albatross  6 Northern Fulmar  5
Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel  50 Pink-footed Shearwater  25
Sooty Shearwater  3 Red-necked  Phalarope  3
Red Phalarope  6 South Polar Skua 5
Pomarine Jaeger 1 Parasitic Jaeger  1
Common Murre 8 Rhinoceros Auklet 6
Sabine's Gull 2 California Gull 20
Common Tern 1 Humpback whale 3 (1 breaching, fin-slapping)
whale (sp?) 1 Dall's Porpoise 18
California Sea Lion 1 Northern Fur Seal  3
Elephant seal 1 (seen by few) Blue Shark  2
Ocean Sunfish 2   
Pacific White-sided Dolphin (seen by myself, distant group)
Ashy Storm-Petrel (seen by myself from bow, probable, caught sight of it then lost it in large group of Fork-tailed)

Return 5 miles offshore to mouth of Yaquina Bay  3:21-3:46
Pink-footed Shearwater 5 Sooty Shearwater 5
Brandt's Cormorant 50 Brown Pelican 3
Common Murre  30 Heermann's Gull 1
California Gull 10 Western Gull 25
Steller's Sea Lion  9 California sea lion 1

Yaquina Bay (Return)  3:45-4:00
Double-crested Cormorant 10 Brandt's Cormorant 40
Pelagic Cormorant 15 Turkey Vulture  1
Black Turnstone 2 Common Murre  6
Heermann's Gull 3 California Gull  50
Western Gull  25 California sea lion 5
Harbor seal 5

Thanks for visiting.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Aha! Got the comments working. Very impressive shots of the whales and other flying creatures...not that whales fly so much, but this is all a matter of perspective of course, but I digress! Are these identified immediately by a rather sagacious mental capacity or did you have to look a few of them up. I assume a birder brings a book when out to look (and then perhaps a smartphone...are there bird watching apps??) encore!

    2. No time for books on a bouncy ocean. Lots of experience is best way to id them. There are apps for birding. However it is best to keep eye on bird and not distract yourself by looking things up, that can be done later. The pelagic birds can be tough to identify, sometimes it takes several folks to say what they saw to figure the bird out. The chance of seeing something rare that has wandered out of its normal range is the attraction.