Capt. Art's Wildlife Blog

Hurricane Odile hits Baja California Sur on September 15

Most people heard the news about Hurricane Odile hitting Baja California with unprecedented winds and rainfall, causing widespread damage and power/internet outages. Cabo San Lucas was directly in the hurricane’s path and sustained incredible damage, including the airport which had to be closed. There is some good news on the recovery and rebuilding process, summarized [...]

A terrific blog about recent pelagic birding tour

Many thanks to John Schwarz for his blog posting about the pelagic tour: http://www.birdspix.com/. He includes short video footage of the Baird’s beaked whales too.

September 4 (day 4) Pelagic Birding tour

Hello all,
Today we started in the Tanner/Cortez bank area. There was a tremendous amount of birds there starting at daylight. Black-vented shearwaters were everywhere which is significant because they generally are closer to shore. Todd, John and Dave all mentioned they haven’t seen this amount of black-vented shearwaters ever in all their trips. Maybe the warm water conditions have something to do with it. Several blackfooted albatross appeared this afternoon. We had common dolphins. Risso’s dolphin , blue whales and California sea lions in the marine mammal department. Great weather and a great day again.
Today’s picture is a group of four albatross in our chum slick at sunset.

Team Searcher

September 3 (day 3) Pelagic Birding Tour

Hello all,
We had another good day a long way offshore. We spent the day in really deep water– 2000 fathoms and deeper–off the shelf. We started on the Rodriguez Seamount and then went SSE to the San Juan Seamount late this afternoon. We were over 200 miles west of San Diego all day. There were lots of birds to look at at various times during the day and some whale sightings as well.
Pink-footed, sooty, black-vented and Bullers shearwaters, black-footed albatross, red-billed tropicbirds, jeagers, loads of storm petrels (ashy, Leachs, black). Arctic, elegant and common terns, western and Sabine’s gulls. There wasn’t too much time spent without birds today.
We saw Risso’s and common dolphin and a very large blue whale. It is interesting to think about seeing blue whales within 5 miles west of San Diego and then seeing them over 200 miles west of San Diego too! I think it means there is more and more blue whales in the Eastern Pacific. Great news!
Today’s picture is a Risso’s dolphin at the surface with more just under the surface in the foreground.
Team Searcher

Pelagic Birding Tour, day 2 (September 2)

Hello all,
Another great day with lots of birds. The highlights are south polar skua, pomarine and parasitic jeager, black-footed albatross. We had plenty of storm petrels and pink-footed shearwaters all day, lots of common dolphin, Risso’s dolphin, bottlenose dolphin and the highlight was a group of 20 Baird’s beaked whales. The weather cooperated with light winds all day and not much sea or swell. We are headed into San Miguel Island to have dinner and get some rest before heading west to the Rodriguez Seamount to start tomorrow.
Today’s photo is Dave Povey (chummed extraordinaire) in white hat and some fellow birders at the chum station.
Team Searcher

Pelagic Birding Tour: September 1

Hello all,
We had a fantastic day with a great start to our pelagic birding trip. We left San Diego harbor and within the first hour we started seeing black-vented shearwaters and we saw them through out the day. There were a few pink-footed shearwater as well.
Probably the highlight for the day was Craveri’s murrlets. We had some really good looks at these birds after the breeze subsided late in the day. Another high light was Sabines’ gull. We saw multiple storm petrels with the majority being blacks. We did see several Ashy’s and a few Least, a lifer for  a few people. We saw lots of Elegant and Common terns, Western gulls, and  a few California gulls.
We saw some marine mammals today with a good look at a bue whale, fin whale, and lots of short-beaked common dolphin. We also saw two northern elephant seals at the surface getting air. We had a very busy afternoon.
Team Searcher

Seabird report June 20

Hello all,
We have had a great day offshore northern Baja today. We are 100 miles south of San Diego. We have seen 20 black-footed albatross, black and Leach’s storm petrels, northern fulmars, pink-footed and sooty shearwaters and the highlight has been 6 Cook’s petrels. We also had a report from another boat 30 miles to the west of us. They were seeing multiple Cook’s petrels today.
Team Searcher

Just a few spots left…

Our September 1-5 US pelagic birding tour is filling up rapidly! Let us know if you’d like to reserve a spot soon and have your chance to see a Craveri’s murrelet!

(Photo by Larry Schott)

Documentary on modern-day whaling by high school students!

You’ll see some familiar Searcher faces in the interviews. We are really proud of our High Tech High neighborhood students and this accomplishment!

Sad to see 2014 Baja Whalewatching tours come to an end…

…but already excited for  2015 tours!

 

Tour #6 Isla San Jose, Islas Los Islotes

Dear whalewatchers: We started our day at Punta Colorado to watch the colors develop on the red sandstone cliffs at Isla San Jose (see photo). We went ashore for a pre-breakfast birding and plant walk to this beautiful desert arroyo. Then we set off for a snorkel session with sea lions and reef fishes at [...]

Tour #6 Bahia Agua Verde

Dear whalewatchers: We spent the morning at Bahia Agua Verde for a shore excursion and then a snorkel in a beautiful little cove. Snorkelers were treated to large schools of fish, a variety of sea stars, lots of puffer fishes (much to the delight of Searcher mermaid and cook, Geri Sue) and even a few [...]

Tour #6 Isla Santa Catalina

Dear whalewatchers: We had a great night at anchor last night and enjoyed sunrise at the beautiful Isla Santa Catalina. We went for a morning hike in the arroyo and found lots of desert iguanas and other reptiles (including the rattleless rattler), singing birds and the wonderful cactus garden present on this remote island. After [...]

Tour #6: Isla San Jose and San Francisco

Hello whale watchers, Due to windy conditions we had to deviate from the normal itinerary today. We started at the south end of Isla San Jose at the mangroves. Everyone enjoyed the 2 hour trip in the skiffs. There was excellent birdwatching. We pulled anchor and went over to Isla San Francisco for a beach [...]

Tour #6 offshore Bahia Magdalena

Dear whalewatchers: We had some windy conditions today, but we managed to find four humpbacks and a single Bryde’s whale for the morning. We kept an oil slick going and a popcorn stream for chumming up the birds, but the birdlife was really sparse for the afternoon. A huge herd of long-beaked common dolphins kept [...]

Tour #6 Laguna San Ignacio, day 2

Dear whalewatchers: We had three kinds of excursions today: a mangrove visit for birdwatching, a beachcombing trip onshore, and whalewatching outings too. It was a great day with the whales and all the other wildlife here. Passengers are enjoying a seared ahi dinner and recalling the whale encounters over the last two days. Today’s photo [...]

Tour #6 Laguna San Ignacio

Dear whalewatchers: We arrived in Laguna San Ignacio this morning and were greeted by many gray whale cow-calf pairs. There were several pairs to watch all day long, and many of them wanted to interact with passengers in the pangas. We are so grateful to be here for one more trip, and share this magical [...]

Tour #6 Islas San Benito

Dear whalewatchers: After a calm night of travel, we arrived at Islas San Benito this morning. Before getting to the island, we had good views of black-footed albatrosses and a cow-calf pair of humpbacks. Our group had a wonderful walk around the island to spend time with elephant seals (returning, molting sub-adults and weaners) and [...]

Tour #6 Islas Todos Santos

Hello whalewatchers: We started our final trip of the 2014 season and we had a great first day. We had a short visit to Isla Todos Santos and saw three different pinnipeds, oystercatchers, peregrine falcons, pelagic commorants, and brown pelicans on the nest with chicks. Our first whales were seen just south of the island [...]

Isla Santa Catalina photo by Rob Nawojchik

We love this view of an incredible island stop on our Baja Whalewatching tour itinerary. Rob is a terrific guide, teacher and photographer!