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SD Pelagic – Flesh-footed, Short-tailed, other birds, 11 Dec 2020

Nancy Christensen, Dan Jehl, Peter Ginsberg, and myself ventured offshore today to the Nine Mile Bank on the lookout for winter seabirds in the area.  Sea conditions were OK and the medium-long interval swell settled out during the day creating nice running conditions.  We started the morning running to the Mexico border at the bottom of the Nine Mile Bank and from there ventured northwest to the upper part of the bank approximately west of Mission Bay.  We did take a long jog west into the San Diego Trough also, following a slick line, which was productive for birds as well as garbage. In total 65 NM traveled at sea.

Coming back across to the top of the Nine Mile Bank we came across a concentration of Black-vented Shearwaters (2000+), Common Dolphin, and a few Humpback Whales, the birds in great gyrating feeding flocks.  Here we found the clear highlight of our day a FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER in the first shearwater raft we pulled up to.  Also in the Black-vented rafts about eight dark shearwaters, two SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER on nice close photos, and no doubt others that slipped away may have been this species.
We also had quick looks at two SCRIPPS'S MURRELET as well as four RHINOCEROS AUKLET out on the slick line extending into the trough west of the bank.
RED-FOOTED BOOBY was firmly planted on the Bait Barge as we came back to Harbor Island.

Gary Nunn
Pacific Beach

Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports