[Tweeters] Westport Seabirds Pelagic Trip Report for 7-20-16

Cara Borre cmborre1 at gmail.com
Sat Jul 23 12:33:22 PDT 2016

I enjoyed my first Westport Seabirds pelagic trip last Wednesday, July 20th
as an “official spotter”. We were joined by more east coasters than west
coasters, as the majority onboard were part of a tour organized by the
Clearwater Florida Audubon Society, and lead locally by Bob Boekelheide.

The conditions couldn’t have been more perfect during the trip which
started under overcast skies at 5:30am. There was no wind and the seas
were exceptionally calm, even during the “crossing of the bar”.
Temperatures were pleasant throughout the day with the sun coming out for
the return trip.

This trip was an “outer slope” voyage which explores the deep waters west
of Gray’s Canyon and the Continental Shelf. These deeper waters are a good
area to search for species such as Leach’s Storm-Petrel which forages
further out to sea than the more commonly observed Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel.

The birds were numerous as were the fishing vessels that attract them.
Expected species occurred in good numbers and we were treated to a rare
Scripps’s Murrelet (3) sighting! Continuing the trend this year for
exceptional diversity in sea mammals, we had Humpback Whales, Northern
Right-whale Dolphins, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Dall’s Porpoise and
Northern Fur Seal. The highlight for many with regard to the mammals, was
a rare sighting of transient Orcas (5). Please see the entire bird,
mammal, and a couple of fish list below.

As the newest member of the Westport Seabirds team, I wanted to speak to
those of you reading Tweeters who haven’t yet been on a trip, but maybe
have contemplated it. This is an excellent time of year to take your
“maiden voyage”. The weather and sea conditions are often accommodating
for those uncertain about their sick legs.

If you are new to pelagic birding, I recommend doing some research such as
becoming familiar with the information on the Westport Seabirds webpage:
www.westportseabirds.com. There are also several great books on the topic
considered by many to be the “current frontier of birding”.

Lastly, feel free to contact me via email with any questions you may have
in preparation for your first pelagic trip. Remember if you’ve never been
on a pelagic before, every (pelagic) bird is a “lifer”!

Species List Wednesday July 20, 2016

White-winged Scoter (1)

Black-footed Albatross (150)

Pink-footed Shearwater (511)

Sooty Shearwater (26759)

Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel (151)

Leach’s Storm-Petrel (3)

Brandt’s Cormorant (35)

Double-crested Cormorant (40)

Pelagic Cormorant (72)

Brown Pelican (1512)

Red-necked Phalarope (81)

Red Phalarope (1)

Parasitic Jaeger (1)

Common Murre (5991) huge flocks flying and foraging near the harbor

Pigeon Guillemot (8)

Scripps’s Murrelet (3)

Cassin’s Auklet (96)

Rhinoceros Auklet (9)

Sabine’s Gull (24)

Heerman’s Gull (3702)

California Gull (789)

Glaucous-winged, Western and “Olympic” Gulls (514)

Caspian Tern (1)

Shorebirds on the Westport Jetty during the return:

Wandering Tattler (6)

Ruddy Turnstone (5)

Black Turnstone (30)

Surfbird (10)


Humpback Whale (11)

Harbor Porpoise (4)

Dall’s Porpoise (5)

Orca (5)

Pacific White-sided Dolphin (50)

Northern Right-whale Dolphin (40)

Harbor Seal (1)

Northern Fur Seal (1)

Steller’s Sea Lion (3)


Blue Shark (9)

Ocean Sunfish (9)

The next trip is actually taking place as I write and we’ll be anxious to
hear what they find. There are 5 trips headed out in August, all with
space available I believe. The complete schedule is found on the website
listed above.

Hope to “sea” you out there!

Cara Borre

Gig Harbor
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