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San Deigo pelagic: Wedge-tailed Shearwater, Blue-footed Booby, R-b Tropicbird, Mag. Frigatebird, 4 Nazcas, 1 Red-footed

San Deigo pelagic: Wedge-tailed Shearwater, Blue-footed Booby, R-b Tropicbird, Mag. Frigatebird, 4 Nazcas, 1 Red-footed
By – 4:01 am

The San Diego pelagic trip on Sunday, 11 Sep, aboard “Legacy” and sponsored by Buena Vista Audubon Society was…..awesome! Well, certainly three hours of it in the morning were extra awesome. Sea conditions were surprisingly pleasant, post-“KAY,” all day. Just several miles out to sea we had a very cooperative sitting RED-BILLED TROPICBIRD that allowed us to get quite close. That was followed by two separate sub-adult Nazca Boobies. Then, as we crossed the San Diego Trough in quick succession we had a BLUE-FOOTED BOOBY circle the boat–a casual visitor to coastal California–and then a casual, light-morph WEDGE-TAILED SHEARWATER–the third record for San Diego County and perhaps only around ten or so records for the state–which flew around and in front of the boat for an extended period. This was a new California bird for everyone on the boat except for two folks. Not too long after that an adult Nazca Booby appeared, followed immediately by a Red-footed Booby! Later on we added a Masked/Nazca Booby (photos will be examined further) and another Nazca! Also present were Least Storm-Petrels for much of the trip, a few exceedingly close to the boat, as well as a small-to-moderate number of Townsend’s and Leach’s Storm-Petrels and one Ashy Storm-Petrel. And then to cap it all off at the very end, there was an adult male MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD circling around near the dock when we returned!! Perhaps the strangest sight of the day, in a depraved sort of way, was the flock of five Killdeer that flew past the boat several miles offshore–not your typical “pelagic” species. We also had good looks at a Guadalupe Fur Seal. Lots of photos will appear in the shared eBird checklists when they are ready in a few days. Offshore totals for the day were as follows:

KILLDEER  5  (!!!)

Red-necked Phalarope  140

Red Phalarope  17

Pomarine Jaeger  6

Parasitic Jaeger  3

Cassin’s Auklet  1

Craveri’s Murrelet  3

Sabine’s Gull  3

Heermann’s Gull  8

Western Gull  400

California Gull  1

Common Tern  120  (good count)

Elegant Tern  125

RED-BILLED TROPICBIRD  1  (3.8 mi off n. Point Loma)

Leach’s Storm-Petrel  9

Townsend’s Storm-Petrel  8

Leach’s/Townsend’s Storm-Petrel  27

Ashy Storm-Petrel  1

Black Storm-Petrel  55  (low)

Least Storm-Petrel  95  (along entire route)

WEDGE-TAILED SHEARWATER  1  (21.8 to 21.3 mi W of tip of Point Loma)

Pink-footed Shearwater  48

Black-vented Shearwater  5000


NAZCA BOOBY  4  (high count; 1 immature, 2 sub-adults, 1 adult)

BLUE-FOOTED BOOBY  1  (21.7 mi W of  tip of Point Loma)

Brown Booby  7

RED-FOOTED BOOBY  1  (23.4 mi W of tip of Point Loma)

Brandt’s Cormorant 17

Brown Pelican  16

The next scheduled San Diego pelagic trip is on 1 October, but it is currently sold out. Wait-listers welcome. The final trip of the season is on 22 October, a shorter 6-hour trip, and it still has space.

— Paul Lehman, Dave Povey, Bruce Rideout, Alex Abela, Jimmy McMorran, Gary Nunn,  San Diego