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San Diego pelagic 8/26: Wedge-tailed Shearwater, Nazca Booby, Townsend’s & Least Storm-Petrels

5:20 am

The San Diego 11-hour pelagic trip on 26 August aboard “Legacy” and sponsored by Buena Vista Audubon Society made the usual route out to the Nine-Mile and 30-Mile Banks and “The Corner”–out to about 34 miles offshore. A mass of thousands of feeding shearwaters and other birds only 5-6 miles offshore was spectacular. As we neared that concentration, a light-morph Wedge-tailed Shearwater flew right up the side of the boat, establishing the fourth record for San Diego County of this casual visitor to California waters. The same mass of birds also included an adult or near adult Nazca Booby. Farther offshore was much quieter, but we did find a few Leach’s and single Townsend’s & Least Storm-Petrels, plus another adult booby that was just a bit too far to safely ID as either Nazca or Masked. Totals for the day, once about a mile offshore were:
Whimbrel:  25
Marbled Godwit: 21 (single flock about 10 miles offshore)
Western Sandpiper:  3
Red-necked Phalarope:  90
Pomarine Jaeger: 11
Parasitic Jaeger:  2
Sabine’s Gull: 6
Heermann’s Gull:  25
Western Gull:  250
California Gull: 2
Least Tern: 4
Common Tern:  15  (scattered)
Elegant Tern: 550
Royal Tern:  2
Leach’s Storm-Petrel:  13  (both light and dark rumped birds)
Townsend’s Storm-Petrel:  1  (30-Mile Bank)
Leach’s/Townsend’s Storm-Petrel:  3
Black Storm-Petrel:  245
Least Storm-Petrel: 1  (Nine-Mile Bank)
Northern Fulmar: 1  (Nine-Mile Bank; rare in summer)
WEDGE-TAILED SHEARWATER: 1  (ca. 5-1/2 mi W of Ocean Beach; 32.75, -117.35)
Sooty Shearwater:  450  (good count for this time of year)
Pink-footed Shearwater:  4500  (probably record high count for SD County)
Black-vented Shearwater:  5000
NAZCA BOOBY:  1  (adult ca. 5-1/2 miles off Mission Bay; excellent views)
Nazca/Masked Booby:  1  (adult, just slightly too far to ID; 30-Mile Bank)
Brown Booby:  5
Brandt’s Cormorant:  3
Double-crested Cormorant:  2
Brown Pelican:  630
Brown-headed Cowbird: 2
Neotropic Cormorant: 2  (stakeouts near the dock)
Surfbird: 6  (jetties)
Guadalupe Fur Seal: several
For information on future trips, see
–Paul Lehman, Dave Povey, Dan Jehl, Dan King, Jimmy McMorran, Barbara Wise, San Diego