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#400 Water, water everywhere; and some other stuff

5:30 pm

1. Went out on Friday on the Hornblower. We headed directly west from the tip of Pt. Loma to the 9-Mile Bank.
Spent an hour cruising the Bank, then came straight east.
Highlight of the trip was 3 large pods of common dolphins, one with 30-50 animals, one with around 100, and one with an estimated 750.

Things looked empty until we came to the first small pod of dolphins 4 mile offshore. it had attracted 19 black-vented shearwaters, 6 sooty shearwaters, 2 pink-footed shearwaters and 3 red-necked phalaropes.

Then we headed west 3 miles to the giant pod of dolphins. Not a single bird between the 2 pods or in the large pod’s vicinity.
Then out to the Bank.
It was only a little better. 5 sooty shearwaters, 2 pink-foots, 16 black storm-petrels, 7 ashy and 1 partially-white-rumped Leach’s type.
No alcids, jaegers, unusual gulls or terns, or boobies.
That’s not a lot of birds for an hour on the bank. On the other hand, I was the only birder on the boat and can scan only so much of the ocean.

The trip back was virtually seabird-less. A single sooty and 2 black-vents in 14 miles.
[Addendum: a county first-record tufted puffin was seen off Newport Beach yesterday.]

2. Now, the bad news is that the swells were 4’ at 7 seconds. With the boat going 13 knots, that meant a crest-to-crest interval of about 2 seconds.
Washboard conditions. Stomach churning, vertigo-inducing, emesis-producing.
If you are lucky enough to go on tomorrow’s pelagic, perhaps prepare for unpleasant motion.

3. La Jolla Cove: sometimes 3 black-vented shearwaters, sometimes 1300, first thing in the morning. What is strange is that there seems to be none of the typical circadian pattern of these birds moving south and then north again, so that a whale-watching boat comes across a stream of them moving around.

Also, Steve Ellis reported on eBird today an astonishing 3 hybrid American/Black oystercatchers on the rocks below my bench today. Worth checking out if all 3 are hybrids.

4. Does anyone have a copy of Hilty’s Birds of Colombia 2nd edition, they want to sell?

Stan Walens, San Diego
Aug 5, 2023, 2:55 pm