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Feb. 8, 2019 pelagic scouting

Four of us did a pre- San Diego Audubon Bird Festival scouting trip offshore on Friday Feb. 8, 2018. Very nice conditions with a small swell and east breeze.

Birds of note;

A clean looking Sooty Shearwater was on the Nine Mile Bank.

Four Scripps's Murrelets were 7 n.miles west of Pacific Beach. A little early but expected by week three or four of Feb.

A Rhinoceros Auklet was seen at the North end of the Nine Mile Bank. This species nearly absent last year.  I recorded only one in all of 2018. (20 in 2017

all but one in first half).

Two Surfbirds were on the Mission Bay jetties. One on the north jetty, one on the south jetty.

A Peregrine Falcon chasing a Rock Pigeon a half mile off the north Mission Beach Jetty  was a bit odd.  The pigeon would have been doomed if not for

the intervention of a Western Gull.

Overall inshore areas were very quiet. Offshore, the south end of the U.S. portion of the Nine Mile Bank and on down in to Mexican waters, had a huge

feeding congregation. Mostly Black-vented Shearwaters, and California Gulls, both in the thousands., That area held most of the Cassin's Auklets, a

scattering of Bonaparte's Gulls, and our lone Sooty Shearwater, Brown Booby and Glaucous-winged Gull.

The area six or seven miles west of Bird Rock La Jolla had even a larger feeding congregation. That one in the "tens" of thousands, and covering several

square miles. The birds here feeding on N. Anchovy. Again mostly Black-vents, and Cal Gulls, but also a mix of cormorants, pelicans, and other gulls.

Interestingly a lone Red Phalarope, a several Cassin's Auklets were in the mob. Again a scattering of Bonaparte's Gulls, as well as few a Heermann's Gulls

We saw three leucistic Black-vented Shearwaters on the day. One in particular made an impression, as it was entirely white except for the dark bill, eye

and flight feathers. Like a mini "Masked Booby". I'm sure one of the guys will have some photos of that one.

Last we had a nice mammal show. Particularly a cooperative pod of Risso's Dolphin 9 miles west of Mission Bay.

Sea Surface Temperatures 56.8  (normal) to 61.9 F  (Warm !) Mostly 59 F.

Mission Bay;

Brant   7

Bufflehead   1

Surf Scoter   4

Common Loon    4

Western Grebe   14

Eared Grebe    1

Double-crested Cormorant   15

Pelagic Cormorant   1

Brown Pelican   40

Great Blue Heron   4

Snowy Egret   1

Whimberl     1

Spotted Sandpiper   6

Surfbird    2

Black Turnstone    3

peep sp. 25

Heermann's Gull    1

Western Gull    30

Royal Tern  5

parrot sp.   8



Surf Scoter   70

Pacific Loon   5

Sooty Shearwater    1

Black-vented Shearwater    5500

Brown Booby    1

Brandt's Cormorant   400

Pelagic Cormorant   1

Brown Pelican   525

Peregrine Falcon   1

Red Phalarope     5

Scripps's Murrelet    4

Cassin's Auklet    72

Rhinoceros Auklet   1

Bonaparte's Gull   95

Heermann's Gull   20

Western Gull   1500

California Gull    9000

Herring Gull    1

Glaucous-winged Gull    1

Royal Tern    1

Rock Pigeon   1



Gray Whale   3

Risso's Dolphin     25

Pacific White-sided Dolphin   2-3

Common Dolphin   75

California Sea Lion    4



Dave Povey



p.s. The San Diego Audubon Bird Festival pelagic trips still have a few spots left on the Saturday March 2nd. trip, more spots available

on the Sunday, Mar. 3rd. trip.

We plan to visit these same areas. Contact  or call 1 858 273-7800

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports