Pelagic Birding Tours

The stunning red-billed tropicbird is a great sighting on this tour.

Searcher Natural History Tours offers an exciting 5-day pelagic trip to bird the offshore ABA waters of Southern California.

Where we go

Travelling north over the nine-mile bank, weaving through the Channel Islands, and continuing past Point Conception to the Arguello Canyon, Rodriguez Dome, San Juan Seamount, and seamounts far offshore, we bird along the 2,000-fathom line and wherever else the birds take us.

A history of stellar sightings

September trips since 2003 have amassed an amazing list of species seen:  Black-footed Albatross, Northern Fulmar, Murphy’s Petrel, Cook’s Petrel, Hawaiian Petrel, Flesh-footed Shearwater, Buller’s Shearwater, Pink-Footed Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Black-vented Shearwater, Least Storm-Petrel, Leach’s Storm-Petrel, Ashy Storm-Petrel, Black Storm-Petrel, Red-billed Tropicbird, Red-necked Phalarope, Red Phalarope, South Polar Skua, Pomarine Jaeger, Parasitic Jaeger, Long-tailed Jaeger, Sabine’s Gull, Arctic Tern, Pigeon Guillemot, Common Murre, Cassin’s Auklet, Rhinoceros Auklet. The southern waters off the coast of San Diego are the best areas in the ABA area to look for Xantus’s (both races) and Craveri’s Murrelets.

In addition, September is an excellent time to see the regular assortment of fall migrant seabirds that have made California famous including South Polar Skua, all three species of jaegers, Buller’s, Pink-footed and Sooty Shearwaters and Black-footed Albatrosses.

Variety is the spice of the pelagic

Our expeditions find rarities and mega-rarities on nearly every trip.  The diverse array of species is a result of a diverse itinerary: from near-shore to islands to the edge of the deep-water Continental Shelf.

While our primary focus will be on birds, there’s also a chance to see several species of whales including blue, fin, humpback, beaked, orca, and sperm whales; several species of dolphins; and an array of fishes.

Pelagic Birding Trip Reports

What you may see out there

See more images from past trips in the Gallery.

Available Tours

Pelagic Birding Tour, 2015: Sep 7 - Sep 11, 2015
Depart: San Diego, USA
Return: San Diego, USA
Cost: $1250    FULL! Get on our wait list!

NEW! Mexican Pelagic Birding Tour offered by Wild Wings!: Nov 28 - Dec 8, 2015
Depart: San Diego, California
Return: Cabo San Lucas
Cost: See link.    

Pelagic Birding Tour, 2016: Sep 5 - Sep 9, 2016
Depart: San Diego, USA
Return: San Diego, USA
Cost: $1300    24