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Trip #415 worst trip ever! except for the tufted puffin

4:26 pm

We headed straight south again from the tip of Point Loma, going about 2 miles south of the #1 buoy, so I think around 5 miles south.

Another whale-watching boat had seen some Pacific white-sided dolphins there.
There were almost no birds of any kind until we got near the dolphins, where we found maybe 30 Western gulls, 5 pelicans and 60 or so Brandt’s cormorants.
Some were following the dolphins, most just sitting in the water.
Along the edge of the group of sitting cormorants was a single winter-adult tufted puffin.
Round head, deep bill with a new bright orange sheath seeming to just be coming in, so the bill looked angled along both top and bottom edges and with a big curve on the culmen. Large whitish patch around and behind the eye.
No whales around, so we headed NW for about 7 miles, until we were somewhere a couple miles NW of Mission Bay. Then we headed back to the south until we were almost back to the #1 buoy.
Total distance traveled maybe about 23-25 miles.
In that time, we did not see a single oceanic bird. Not a tubenose, not an alcid, not a jaeger, not a booby. NOTHING!!!
Not even that many nearshore birds. Maybe 200 cormorants total, 60 or 70 gulls, 30 pelicans. Most of them sitting on the water.
The weather was nice, though.
Stan Walens, San Diego
Feb 12, 2024; 4:25 pm

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