#406 A very exciting day on the Hornblower: 2 wedge-tailed shearwaters, black-footed albatross, flesh-footed shearwater, 1100 pink-footed
Things were so different than previously. Today I had 30 black-venteds, a parasitic jaeger and a juvenile brown booby within a mile of the tip of Pt. Loma.
Today the boat immediately turned NW instead of heading south. Water was a bit roiling, surface was pretty choppy. Bad for seeing alcids, phalaropes, etc.
There were scattered numbers of black-venteds, pink-footed and sooties off and on for the next 6 miles.
Bird distribution was spotty; for 15 minutes we might see nothing, then suddenly more than we could count going past.
Then from 7 until 9 miles, we were came across a river of pink-footed shearwaters, with a few other species mixed in, including 2 wedge-tailed shearwaters! [both light morph] very close to the boat.
From then on, at almost no time during our 3 hours on the ocean, was there no pink-footed in sight.
Came across a flock of close to 700 pink-foots sitting on the water; the boat scared them into the air, along with a juvenile black-footed albatross.
We then sat for an hour watching a pair of humpback whales successfully doing their best to do nothing interesting.
Pink-foots kept streaming by during that hour, as well as a single pomarine jaeger.
Interestingly, almost every bird today was going towards the north, except for phalaropes [7 red; 19 red-necked; surprisingly few considering how many passed Pt. La Jolla on Saturday morning].
Then we turned and headed west out to the inner edge of the 9-Mile Bank, which was not very birdy.
BUT, before we got to the Bank, between 11-13 miles, we came upon a large congregation of storm-petrels. 150+ Black, at least 3 Ashy, 10-12 Least, and a single, large white-rumped bird that was likely a Leach’s.
At the 9-Mile Bank we encountered a very active pod of 600 common dolphins. Zero oceanic birds with them.
There were a bunch of Commic terns, but I was concentrating on identifying storm-petrels, and didn’t bother trying to identify the terns.
We turned back east and with a mile of coming off the Bank, a flesh-footed shearwater crossed the bow.
Black storm-petrels and the 3 usual species of shearwater were constant companions until we were maybe 2 miles from the coast.
I think my total numbers are low, since I could scan only part of the ocean. But I’d say 1100-1300 pink-footed, 125 black-venteds, 40 sooties.
I know that people were out today on the Legacy and Privateer, but I haven’t seen their reports yet.
Birds are obviously moving around quite a bit.
A reminder: a bunch of people are going out on the Legacy this Wednesday August 30. 10:00 am trip.
Anyone who wants to join us is welcome to come.
Stan Walens, San Diego
August 28, 2023; 4:50 pm