[Tweeters] 5 Flesh-footed Shearwaters; trip results from yeasterdays Westport Seabirds trip

bill shelmerdine georn1 at hotmail.com
Sun Aug 22 06:48:12 PDT 2010

Greetings Tweeters,
Yesterday, 8/21/2010, was another great tip offshore with Westport Seabirds. Highlights included 5 Flesh-footed Shearwaters, first-of-year (FOY) Buller’s Shearwaters, and a great showing of marine mammals. A brief summary is provided here with highlights and approximate numbers. The official results and species totals will be posted to the Westport Seabirds website.
The day started a bit on the "bumpy" side with a forecast of 10-15 knot winds, and 6 ft NW swell. It took a while to clear the choppy conditions inshore and around the harbor, but offshore the conditions improved and the return trip was downright pleasant. All of the expected species were seen with the possible exception of Parasitic Jeager and Red Phalarope. Most species were found in pretty typical numbers and nine species of marine mammals were a real treat.

We encountered shrimp boats just inside of the canyon edge on both the outgoing and in-bound trips. A number of species were encountered here including 5 South Polar Skua at the second boat visited, and 4 species of shearwaters. On the return through this area there were fewer shearwaters, but included killer looks at a very cooperative Flesh-footed Shearwater (our 3rd) sitting on the water, and an equally cooperative Tufted Puffin (our second) in mostly alternate plumage. Further out we found a large school of Pacific White-sided Dolphin containing about 540 animals and including 50 Northern Right Whale Dolphin. Both species gave good views and spent time bow-riding much to our delight. Our first Arctic Terns of the day showed up in this area. The chum spot at our furthest point off shore (35 to 40 mi.) was a bit on the slow side, so were turned back to spend a bit more time back at the boats. Shortly after the turn around point we had great views of and alternate plumaged Tufted Puffin on the water, and a first year Long-tailed Jeager that came in close to the boat and settled briefly.

Approximate species totals for the pelagic specialties include: Black-footed Albatross (107); Northern Fulmar (174); Sooty (4780), Pink-footed (647), Flesh-footed (5), and Buller’s (2) Shearwaters; Fork-tailed Storm Petrel (200); Common Murre (many, mostly inshore); Tufted Puffin (2); Rhinoceros (113), and Cassin’s (3) Auklets; South Polar Skua (9); Pomerine (6), and Long-tailed (1) Jeager; Sabines Gull (60); and Arctic Tern (6). Low numbers of Phalarope (only 3 Red-necked) and an off shore Wandering Tattler was a bit of a surprise. Shorebird numbers at the jetty were low, but Black Turnstone, and Surfbird were added to the trip list along with a few more Tattlers. Marine mammals included Humpback Whale (4), Pacific White-sided and Northern Right-whale Dolphin; Dall’s and Harbor Porpoise; Northern Fur and Harbor Seals; California and Steller’s Sealions. Near the latter part of the trip a spectacular breach by a close Humpback was a real crown pleaser.

Spotters for the trip included Scott Mills, Bill Tweit, and I. Thanks to Skipper Phil Anderson and Chris Anderson for another great and very well run trip.

Bill Shelmerdine
mailto: georn1 at hotmail.com
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