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#399 Not as bad as it has been

9:23 am

Went out on the Hornblower yesterday.
Should have gone today: perfect conditions for frigatebirds today.
Yesterday, almost no wind, the birds were sitting on the water for the most part.
Surface was calm, great for seeing alcids, but 3 Scripps’ murrelets were the only alcids of the day.

We headed directly south until we were 150 yards from the Mexican border. Spent almost a hour sitting there, waiting for a blue whale lallygagging on the other side of the border to come closer—it didn’t.
Then motored 11 miles west, getting almost to the eastern edge of the 9-Mile Bank before just turning around. Spent no time on the bank.

For the past 6 weeks, there have been extremely few inshore pelagic birds. That pretty much continues.
We came across several very large pods of feeding common dolphins: a single sooty shearwater was the only seabird accompanying them.
But as we sat near the Mexican border I could see birds sitting on a current south of the border 1/4 mile.
10 sooty shearwaters and a Laysan albatross, which did not move from its little patch of ocean for the entire hour we were there.
Just thumbed its bill at us, nyah-nyah-nyah, I’m not coming into U.S. waters.

Nicest birds were 11 Sabine’s gulls in a single flock. All females except for the ones that weren’t.
4 adult common terns.
A total of about 35 sooty shearwaters, 13 black-vented shearwaters in a single flock, and a single pink-footed shearwater.
4 black storm-petrels, near the 9-Mile Bank.
No jaegers or boobies. No phalaropes. but a single red knot.
Not a lot of birds for what was essentially 30 miles of sailing.

The 16-mile trip back was devoid of seabirds, except for one sooty shearwater. Still, that’s one more than last trip.

Next weekend will be trip #400.

Stan Walens, San Diego
July 30, 2023; 9:17 am