Bruce LaBar blabar at harbornet.com
Mon May 16 14:35:06 PDT 2016

Yesterday, Westport Seabirds was host to twelve very eager naturalists from the University of Washington. The Pacific Northwest Young Naturalist Society was lead by Dave Slager. We also had three other pelagic enthusiasts, Tyler Davis from Kenya, Terry O’Halloran from Idaho and Blair Berson from Edmonds.

The weather was excellent for seabird viewing, with gray skies, calm seas and no rain. This made for wonderful conditions for finding alcids on the water and marine mammals spouting or splashing in the distance. Many of the young naturalists were very keen on finding whales and dolphins, perhaps more so than birds. They were not to be disappointed as the highlights for the day certainly was the mammal show!

Sixteen Humpback Whale’s were observed. Several were waving and slapping the water with their long pectoral flippers and tails. A couple breached out of the water causing many excited exclamations from our crowd. It was if they were trying everything to show off, including spy-hopping at us.

Then the porpoise and dolphins showed up, not to be out-done by the whales. We encountered around 100 Northern Right-Whale Dolphins breaching with their underbellies looking like tuxedos and swimming very close to the boat. Over 70 Pacific White-sided Dolphins joined in with one Dall’s Porpoise and perhaps one Risso’s Dolphin. The sea was just foaming with Cetaceans everywhere!
Lastly, one Northern Fur Seal poked it’s head up and and brought it’s flippers into a resting position known as “jug-handling”.

We also had a great day for seabirds! The highlights include the following: one very quick view of a MANX SHEARWATER near shore (coming back to Westport), two LEACH’S STORM-PETRELS were seen by only a few on the boat, 29 Black-footed Albatross, 129 Pink-footed Shearwaters, 38 Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels, 2 Black Oystercatchers on the rocks of the jetty (uncommon here), 4 Whimbrel flying 20 plus miles off shore, 103 Red-necked Phalaropes, only one Red Phalarope, one Pomarine Jaeger, 2 Ancient Murrelets, 11 Cassin’s Auklets, 21 Black-legged Kittiwakes, 87 Sabine’s Gulls, one lone Bonaparte’s Gull at our chum, and 6 Common Terns, close to shore.

For up-coming trips, information and reservations, please visit our website at www.westportseabirds.com. Leaders for trip were Scott Mills and myself. Boat personal and spotters were Phil and Chris Anderson.

On behalf of Westport Seabirds, we want to thank everyone who made this trip very memorable!

Bruce LaBar
Tacoma, WA
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