2022 Pelagic Birding Tour (Sep 7)

Hello birders,

We had another incredible day with loads of sightings: Buller’s, Sooty and Pink-footed shearwaters; Black-footed albatross, Scripps and Guadalupe murrelets, Red-billed tropicbirds; Sabine’s gull; Townsends, Black, Leach’s and Ashy storm petrels, and a few highlights:  an area of Cook’s petrels and a glimpse of a Hawaiian petrel.
We saw a pair of Bairds beaked whales, nine killer whales, and a few common dolphin. A great day!

If there is anyone concerned about our weather, we’ve enjoyed calm seas and light winds today. It looks like the same forecast for tomorrow. We plan on being tied up to the dock before the wind starts this weekend.

Captain Art and Team Searcher

2022-09-07T20:23:34-07:00September 7th, 2022|Trip Reports|

2022 Pelagic Birding Tour (Sep 6)

Hello birders,

Arrived at Santa Barbara island this morning at first light and saw the booby colony. There were over 100 brown boobies and a single blue-footed booby. We’re headed west along a temperature edge across the bottom of the Santa Cruz basin. We’re seeing a few shearwaters, storm petrels, and our first sighting of a Sabine’s gull. We’ll report on what the rest of the day brings.

Last night’s dinner was boat-made lasagna, fresh green beans, boat-made bread, and a dessert of strawberry shortcake!

Captain Art and Team Searcher

Birders had a big afternoon today, including Red-billed Tropicbird, Buller’s shearwaters, Craveri’s murrelet, Guadalupe murrelet, and much more

2022-09-07T05:37:16-07:00September 7th, 2022|Trip Reports|

2022 Pelagic Birding Tour (Sep 5)

Hello birders!

We departed on our annual 5-day pelagic bird watching trip today. We had a productive first afternoon with lots of storm petrels at the 30-mile bank. Black, Leach’s and Least storm petrels, Black-footed albatross, Black-vented, Sooty and Pink-footed shearwaters, Northern fulmar, Red and Red-necked phalaropes were added to our list.

For whales, we have seen common dolphins, blue (fluke photo from a previous trip) and fin whales. We are enjoying the calm seas and light winds. And it’s a lot cooler out here!

Capt Art and Team Searcher

2022-09-06T10:17:21-07:00September 6th, 2022|Trip Reports|

2022 Research Cruise to Revillagigedos (April 19-28), day 8

Hello all,

This was our final day at the Revillagigedo Islands. We started in the anchorage at Isla Soccoro. We went around the east side of the island looking for birds and whatever we could find. We saw a few boobies and some Wedge-tailed shearwaters that nest on Isla San Benedicto.

We travelled the 25 miles to Isla San Benedicto and went to the east side of that island to look for the tropicbirds. We saw two red-tailed tropicbirds which was a highlight for the bird team. Unfortunately due to a large swell, we couldn’t land on the island. We sent a skiff in to look for a spot to snorkel but there were sharks around and we wanted to keep everyone safe.  We did see a giant Manta ray and we put a few people in the water  but it swam away and the reef sharks gathered, so everyone got out of the water.

We had a back deck BBQ buffet with ribs, mac and cheese, corn bread, coleslaw and brownies with margaritas. After dark was a “Searcher Shark Show” with at least 50 sharks around the boat feeding on needle fish and flying fish. There were also bottlenose dolphin feeding on flying fish. It was the highlight of the day.

We are headed to Cabo tonight and arriving Thursday morning.

Captain Art and Team Searcher

2022-04-27T07:40:24-07:00April 27th, 2022|Trip Reports|

2022 Research Cruise to Revillagigedos (April 19-28), day 7

Hello all,

We arrived yesterday to Isla Soccorro. There’s a photo of the pier and bay where we go ashore.

The ride here was pretty good with light winds and a rolling sea. We noticed lots of birds as we approached: Boobies, Brown noddies, Sooty terns, and Cook’s petrels associated with bottlenose dolphins. Once we got the anchor down in front of the navy base and pier, we went through a detailed inspection. Once that was completed we were able to go ashore.

The bird team is looking for the endemic mockingbird, Soccorro wren, and Red-tailed hawk. The plant team found some new records and the insect team set some traps to be looked at tomorrow. (Insect team organizing their Isla Clarion collections at a galley table on board.)

Last night’s dinner by chef Josh was a pork loin with wild rice, veggie medley and an apple-thyme demiglaze that was delicious!

More later,

Captain Art and Team Searcher

2022-04-26T11:35:45-07:00April 25th, 2022|Trip Reports|

2022 Research Cruise to Revillagigedos (April 19-28), day 6

Hello all,

Today was our last day at Isla Clarion. We had a few hours this morning and so everyone went ashore. We picked up people that stayed overnight. It was a successful stay with five new plant records and one new plant not seen before, so the plant team was very happy.

The insect team also had some success and the land snail researcher found the last snail recorded, along with two new possible land snails never reported before.

We left the island and circled it so everyone could see the fantastic rock formation  known as Monument Rock. We are headed to Isla Soccorro.

More later,

Captain Art and Team Searcher

2022-04-25T05:33:58-07:00April 24th, 2022|Trip Reports|

2022 Research Cruise to Revillagigedos (April 19-28), day 5

Hello all,

We spent another day at Isla Clarion and I had a chance to go ashore, which is a first for me. What a great spot!

I went to the navy base, walked around and then headed for the beach.  I saw the endemic raven, wren and mourning dove, along with three Laysan albatrosses. Two were nesting and one was flying around. There was evidence of sea turtle nests with tracks from the water up the beach. We saw green sea turtles in the bay as we approached the island. I also spotted the endemic iguana on shore.

So far the researchers are having success with their objectives here at the Revillagigedos islands. There will be a full report with findings after the trip returns. One scientist is here to re-sight the five different species of land snails. No one has looked for them since the original study done by Cal Academy of Science in 1927. He is sure he has found all five. This is great stuff for science.

We will spend the morning here and then travel to Isla Soccorro on Saturday .

More later,

Captain Art and Team Searcher

2022-04-23T07:19:54-07:00April 23rd, 2022|Trip Reports|

2022 Research Cruise to Revillagigedos (April 19-28), day 4

Hello all,

We arrived to Isla Clarion yesterday and were able to get everyone ashore easily. The Mexican Navy was very helpful and they were happy to get some cold sodas and some new soccer balls. We witnessed a soccer game later that day!

Reports from researchers sounded like a success with good plant sightings and plenty of insects to survey. Part of the group came back for a snorkel session that was awesome. We found lots of fish and a few sharks (white tips and black tips). Sixteen passengers went back to the island with dinner to-go for camping on the beach. We had bottlenose dolphins around the boat last night chasing and eating flying fish. Here are some photos of the landing place below the navy base, the snorkel spot and the old guy driving a skiff with campers returning for breakfast.

More later,
Captain Art and Team Searcher

2022-04-22T08:52:54-07:00April 22nd, 2022|Trip Reports|

2022 Research Cruise to Revillagigedos (April 19-28), day 3

Hello all,

We are arriving at Isla Clarion this morning and are seeing lots of boobies as we approach. The bird team is busy so far.

Everyone is very excited to be at our first island. Yesterday the group shared presentations and meetings about logistics. They each inspected their gear so that any bits of plants or dirt are removed and not transferred to a remote island where exotic species could be damaging. Most of the researchers will spend tonight on the island in order to assess species active during nocturnal and dawn hours.

The weather is overcast and the seas are calm with light winds. We are here for 2.5 days and then we will travel to Isla Soccorro.

Captain Art and Team Searcher

2022-04-21T07:40:36-07:00April 21st, 2022|Trip Reports|

2022 Research Cruise to Revillagegedos (April 19-28)

Hello all,

We departed yesterday from Cabo San Lucas with 24 researchers aboard. There are eight Mexican and 16 US/Canadian researchers aboard along with two representatives from the Mexican reserve. Their research interests cover birds, plants, marine mammals, insects, and ecology of these remote islands.

We are headed to Isla Clarion first for three days, and then to Isla Socorro for two days and then a partial day at Isla San Benedicto. These scientists are returning to the islands to follow up on plant, bird and insect surveys from a previous trip a few years ago.

Today the birders had a great morning with loads of Cooks petrels, Leach’s storm petrels and a few Sooty shearwaters. The Cook’s petrels are migrating north from New Zealand after breeding there–an incredibly long migration. We have also seen some bottlenose dolphins.

We have an acoustic array towing behind the boat–about 200 ft back–recording sounds as we travel. They hope to hear sounds from whales, and in particular, a beaked whale species that frequents these waters.

Our photos from travel day are of the birders on Searcher’s flybridge, the line off the stern for the acoustic array and a meeting in the galley reviewing logistics for our stay on Isla Clarion.

Captain Art and Team Searcher

2022-04-20T18:14:45-07:00April 20th, 2022|Trip Reports|

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