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Pelagic to 9 Mile Bank — Townsend's Storm-Petrel, Craveri's Murrelet, 02 August 2020

Four of us, Nancy Christensen, Mel Senac, Peter Ginsberg, and myself, ventured offshore today Sunday 02 August 2020 to explore waters around the 9 Mile Bank and south to the MX border. Most bird life seemed to be encountered around the "top" of the 9 Mile Bank, i.e. the north part. Here we found some mixed groups of (Offshore) Bottlenose Dolphin and Risso's Dolphin with good number of storm-petrels in this area either loosely tailing the dolphins or widely scattered about in singles.

The top highlight was an early morning well behaved TOWNSEND'S STORM-PETREL over deep water inside the 9 Mile Bank which allowed some close photographs. This bird came feeding close to the boat performing repeated sudden stop, vertical tower, and near vertical drops to the water surface like a shuttlecock to investigate food items.  Later in the morning a single CRAVERI'S MURRELET also photographed further south on the bank.
Complete bird list, including species seen on exit from Mission Bay:
48 Red-necked Phalarope
1 Pomarine Jaeger
3 Cassin's Auklet
2 Heermann's Gull
16 Western Gull
4 Least Tern
1 Caspian Tern
46 Elegant Tern
5 Leach's Storm-Petrel (all presumed form chapmani)
21 Ashy Storm-Petrel
30 Black Storm-Petrel
11 storm-petrel sp.
1 Pink-footed Shearwater
4 Sooty Shearwater
21 Black-vented Shearwater
1 Double-crested Cormorant
8 Brown Pelican
6 Great Blue Heron
1 Snowy Egret
1 American Crow
2 Barn Swallow

Cetacean sightings included (Inshore) Bottlenose Dolphins in the bay, (Offshore) Bottlenose Dolphins out on the 9 Mile Bank, many Risso's Dolphins there too, Common Dolphins and a small dark whale, without visible blow and with a small narrow vertical dorsal, which we thought looked to be a Minke Whale.
PLEASE NOTE: The next San Diego Pelagic charter trip is going out Sunday August 16, 2020.  Reservations phone number is at this link


Gary Nunn
Pacific Beach

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports