Westport 28-29 August

Jon. Anderson and Marty Chaney festuca at olywa.net
Sat Sep 2 00:04:02 PDT 2000

Hi folks,

Last Tuesday & Wednesday, I had an opportunity to go out onto a fishing boat
that was seining for sardines (Sardinops sagax) out of Westport. This is
kind of neat, because the sardine has just recently come back to our coast
in numbers to allow a limited fishery. The last time they were here in
numbers was 1948 in Washington and 1947 off B.C.!! These fish were not the
4" little chunks for a can of kippers; they were 8-10 inches long and fat.
The market is mainly for bait for the long-line fishery for tuna, and
they're being marketed to the Orient.

The boat was fishing for them about 8-9 miles off the mouth of Grays Harbor.
The weather front that'd just blown through was blamed (by the skipper of
the boat) for scattering the sardine schools; the boat ended up with only
about 10 tons of catch for their 30+ hours of effort. The water was pretty
flat; about 2-foot swell and no chop. A mild breeze off-and-on.

I didn't have a lot of time to spend watching the birds, but did note that
there were sooty shearwaters well inside the jaws of the jetty. Lots of
immature California gulls everywhere. Didn't note any small alcids
(Cassin's auklet or marbled murrelets). I didn't notice any small terns,
but likely there were some about. I noted:

Sooty Shearwater - thousands (OK, real high hundreds, anyway!)
Fulmar - several
Pink-footed Shearwater - a handfull
Brown Pelicans - from the Westport marina to 9 miles off shore
Brandt's Cormorant - near shore
Pelagic Cormorants - " "
Heerman's Gull - mostly near-shore
California Gull - lots
Western Gull - common
Western X Glaucous-winged gull - more common; lots of juvs
Pomerine Jaeger - 1 chasing a Calif gull that had a spilled sardine....
Parasitic Jaeger - 1 doing the same thing...
Caspian Tern - feeding near harbor
Common Murre - common; I was impressed with the numbers of Dad-Chick pairs
Rhinoceros Auklet - mostly within 3-4 miles of shore
Pigeon Guillemot - 1 near s jetty
Red-necked Phalarope - a few dozens
Phalarope spp - darn those things can move....
Peeps - seemed bigger? maybe dunlin? - 30 about 2 miles offshore
Red-breasted Merganser - 1 near S jetty
Scoter sp - 'way out and into the sun...
Great Blue Heron - several in harbor and 1 on S jetty
Ocean Sunfish - 1
seals and sea lions near the jettys

This was fun - especially as I'd missed out by waiting too long to sign up
for the deep-water pelagic trip on the 'Monte Carlo' tomorrow, but it beat
sitting at home! And, I've got my land-legs back, now...


Jon. Anderson
Olympia, Washington
festuca at olywa.net

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