Pelagic Birding Tours

Photo credit to Tom Blackman for many images shown here. (obeach.smugmug.com)

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

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.

A Specialty Birding Experience

Search out deep-water rarities during seabird migration.
Log sightings in all-ABA boundary waters.
Spend 5 days with expert bird guides and crew.

Access a variety of habitats in Southern California, including islands, banks, and deep-water canyons.
Enjoy the creature comforts of a comfortable bunk, great cuisine, and indoor relaxing areas after a long day of seabirding.
Enjoy other marine-life sightings including whales, dolphins, fishes, and sharks.

Typical Searcher Pelagic Birding Trip Route

Birdwatching Trips Tour MapWe are proud to operate this exciting tour to bird the offshore ABA waters of Southern California. For over 10 years, our pelagic expeditions have found rarities on nearly every trip. The diverse array of sightings comes from the diverse itinerary: from near-shore to islands to the edge of the deep-water Continental Shelf. In addition, September is an excellent time to see the regular assortment of fall migrant seabirds that have made California famous.

We travel 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.

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. Focus on birds and marine wildlife for 5 days and we’ll take care of the rest!

See the current tour schedule

Pelagic Birding Trip Reports

What you may see out there

See more images in the Gallery