This is the report for the portion of the Searcher Pelagic Sept. 2nd to 6th. that fell in San Diego Co. waters.
Leaders: Todd McGrath, Jonathan Feenstra, Adam Searcy, and Dave Povey.
We left the dock at a little after noon, and did the more or less regular tour of the bait dock, then continued
south, then turned west into a fairly stout breeze. We had no more than made the turn (3 n.m.) when Jon Feenstra called out
a pair of flying murrelets. These birds continued beyond our sight to the northwest. The frustration with these guys would
continue. We flushed two more well north, and on the far side of The San Diego Trough with the same results.
We found the area just inside the Nine Mile Bank loaded with feeding Black-vented Shearwaters (est. 5000+). Two weeks
ago (8-25) a trip through this area turned up a single (1) Black-vent Shearwater.
Associated with the mass of Black-vents, were Pink-footed (25), and Sooty Shearwaters (150+), a few Elegant and
Common Terns, several Pomarine, and Parasitic Jaegers and many Common Dolphin.
We continued up the Nine Mile Bank and further north, passed the “178″, then northwest into the area of recent sightings
of Craveri’s Murrelet. We did not chum in this area hoping to avoid spooking any small alcid. Other than a scattering of
Storm-Petrels, Black (40), Ashy (5),a dark-rumped Leach’s, and Todd picked up on a distance Least Storm-Petrel.
Turns out the best we could come up with was a great Blue Whale show. We found an area inside the 30 Mile Bank that had
perhaps 20 of the big whales. This including a mom, and large calf with escort well seen close to the boat. It was in this area,
while distracted with a magnificent whale show, that we flushed the two murrelets, only seen at great distance.
We had one additional murrelet sp. on the Mushroom Bank (9-5) to complete our failure to I.D. any of the 5 murrelet for
the trip! Just before sundown we sailed into L.A. Co. waters.
The last day of the trip (Sept. 6th) ,we awoke to a red sky’d dawn, a beautiful rainbow, and calm seas. We did quick look
around The Nine Mile Bank, and found more Black-vents (100), Pink-footed (7), and Sooty (15) Shearwaters, Black Storm Petrels (3),
a jaeger sp., many Red-n. Phalaropes (50+), Common Terns (35), and a lone Cassin’s Auklet.
Other trip notes: The Hawaiian Petrel was seen in an area “We” (San Diegans) would once have considered “Home Waters”.
The area about 100 n.m. w.s.w. of Point Loma, and due south of The Cortez Bank. Now that all sightings are judged by closest
land, and San Clemente Is. is L. A. Co. Los Angeles is where this bird will be recorded. Bad enough we have to put up with
their baseball team!
Red-billed Tropicbirds (21) were seen from The Rodriquez Dome (S.B. Co.)4-5, San Juan Sea Mount (L.A. Co.)8-9,
Tanner Bank(Ven. Co.)4, Cortez Bank(L.A. Co.)2, and south 2.
Sea surface ranged from 61 at the Rodriquez, 64 at San Juan, 67 to 69 degrees on the Tanner and to the south.
Not tropical water temps by any means!
Black-footed Albatross (8-10), Low numbers as expected in fall. Well offshore.
Buller’s Shearwaters (44 ), One was seen between Santa Barbara Is. and Anacapa Is., one over The Rodriquez Dome,
40 over the San Juan Seamount, and 2 over the Mushroom Bank.
Brown Booby (1) over The Rodriquez Dome (S.B.Co. )was well north and offshore for that species.
Long-tailed Jaeger (5) All but one from the San Juan Seamount.
Pigeon Guillemot (1) molting to basic plumage. Seen between Santa Rosa Is., and Santa Cruz Is.