Westport, Washington Pelagic results 9/21/02

Ryan Shaw rtshaw80 at hotmail.com
Sat Sep 21 23:01:56 PDT 2002

Greetings all,

It was a great day offshore with Westport Seabirds. The sky was clear, sun
shining the whole day, and the seas were relatively calm and forgiving, with
a 5-6 foot swell for most of the day, with only a little chop here and
there. What was unusual was that we had the direction of the wind flipped
from what we usually get, as it was blowing from the east.

Leaving the harbor, we observed the usual spectacle of Heermann’s Gulls,
Brown Pelicans, Cormorants, and such. Common Loons were moving south high
overhead in good numbers just past the breakwater. Shortly after crossing
the Gray’s Harbor Bar, we began encountering our usual Sooty Shearwaters,
then before we knew it, Pink-footed Shearwaters began flowing southward far
closer to shore than usual. Several Parasitic Jaegers were harassing
California Gulls in the early part of the trip, and even a Sabine’s Gull and
Northern Fulmar were seen roughly 4-5 miles from shore.

Soon, we encountered a large feeding group of Shearwaters, made up largely
of Pink-footed Shearwaters, with a good scattering of Sootys. After passing
this flock, we came upon several large groups of Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels,
numbering around 420 birds altogether, quite the specatacle!
After working our way through the Petrels, we came upon another wheeling and
turning feeding flock of birds. This group though, was made up mostly of
Northern Fulmar. A few hundred Fulmar were counted, along with a few
Pink-footed Shearwaters, and Sooty Shearwaters. Also in the flock, a
Short-tailed Shearwater arced right over the bow, and our first Flesh-footed
Shearwater of the day made its way through the group of birds.

We encountered a couple more Flesh-foots and Short-tailed Shearwaters after
leaving the group, and a nice South Polar Skua, and several Cassin’s
Auklets, when we approached a shrimp trawler. With the trawler were a
massive number of birds, including roughly 80 Short-tailed Shearwaters
wheeling and turning with the wind, giving great looks with all the typical
fieldmarks present to separate from the more common Sootys. Buller’s
Shearwaters began flying through the mass of birds, all cleancut white below
with the distinctive “M” pattern on their dorsal surface present, as always.
Black-footed Albatross were landing behind the boat coming into our chum,
and a few more Flesh-footed Shearwaters passed behind the stern delighting
all the observers.

After leaving the boat, we encountered more shearwaters of all kinds,
including a couple more Flesh-foots, and many Buller’s. South Polar Skuas
began pouring their way through, with at least 4 passing by as we headed for
our “chum” spot at 125 degrees West Longitude.

We put out a slick of Cod Liver Oil and suet, and waited. No birds turned
into a couple of birds, as Black-footed Albatross and Northern Fulmar began
coming to investigate the strange smell. Which in turn attracted the
Jaegers, of which put on an impressive show.
An adult Pomarine Jaeger with full spoons flew in to the chum, and soon a
Parasitic with full forks followed. Then another Parasitic, and another,
all adults, with a few more Pomarine’s coming in aswell. We had a handful
of Poms and Paras, beginning to harass a group of Sabine’s Gulls that came
through to pick off the top of the surface, and then a dark morph sub-adult
Pomarine showed up to try to confuse us with its identification. After
that, 2 beautiful adult dark-morph Parasitic Jaegers flew in to accompany
the more common light morphed birds. We stayed and studied and observed the
jaeger spectacle for a while, before heading back towards shore.

A few more of every species we had previously seen, were observed, including
5 Leach’s Storm-Petrels to a few of the observer’s delight, and
surprisingly, one Ancient Murrelet was seen by a few of the spotters, flying
The trip totals are as follows.

Black-footed Albatross – 75
Northern Fulmar – 640
Pink-footed Shearwater – 760
Buller’s Shearwater – 127
Sooty Shearwater – 1300
Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel – 427
Red-necked Phalarope – 2
Red Phalarope – 2
Pomarine Jaeger – 29
Parasitic Jaeger – 22
Long-tailed Jaeger – 2
Jaeger Sp. – 1
South Polar Skua – 9
California Gull - 535
Glaucous-winged/Western Gulls – 686
Sabine’s Gull – 87
Common Tern – 3
Common Murre – 846
Cassin’s Auklet – 83
Rhinoceros Auklet - 12

Inshore (mostly)
Red-throated Loon – 2
Pacific Loon – 1
Common Loon – 44
Brown Pelican – 745
Double-crested Cormorant – 10
Brandt’s Cormorant – 125
Pelagic Cormorant – 81
Surf Scoter – 200
White-winged Scoter – 20
Harlequin Duck – 1
Heermann’s Gull – 800
Black-legged Kittiwake – 35

Harbor Porpoise - 6
Dall’s Porpoise – 30
Harbor Seal – 1

Cheers and Good Birding/Seabirding
Ryan Shaw


----Ryan Shaw
----Lacey, Washington
----rtshaw80 at hotmail.com
----(360) 491-1084
----AIM: RTShaw80

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