2021 Pelagic Birding Tour-Day 2 report (Sep 9)

Hello birders,

We’ve got great weather again today with calm seas and light winds. We started our day west of Cortez Bank and had good looks at Black-footed albatross, Pink-footed shearwaters, Black and Townsends storm petrels, Guadalupe and Craveri’s murrelets, and Nazca boobys.

(Attached photo thanks to Dave Pereksta from a previous trip.)

On top of the Cortez Bank we saw Pacific white sided dolphins close to the boat. What a great dolphin to see in clean water.

Capt Art and Team Searcher

Pacific white-sided dolphins are a treat!

2021-09-09T16:22:55-07:00September 9th, 2021|Census|

2021 Pelagic Birding Tour-Day 2 report (Sep 8)

Hello birders,

We found Black-footed albatross (coming in for a landing and getting fed with tuna scraps), Sooty and Pink-footed shearwaters, and a blue whale close to the boat. It fluked after the first surfacing and tried on the second surfacing.

Capt Art and Team Searcher

Albatross eating tuna scraps

Hello birders,

We had a great day today! We had a grand slam on boobies for this trip with all five species recorded.! Today was the Nazca booby day with muliplte sightings.  We had blackfooted albatross around and following the boat almost all day, and plenty of pink footed shaearwaters, and Black, Townsends, and Leach’s storm petrels. Plus we had really close look at Guadalupe murrelets and red-billed tropicbirds. At the end of the day, we had a good look at a Cooke’s petrel within 100 feet of the bow.

We saw blue and fin whales with a close look at a blue whale this morning and distant views of fin whales, and also Guadalupe fur seals and California sea lions. A super day!

Capt Art and Team Searcher

2021-09-08T20:56:11-07:00September 8th, 2021|Census|

2021 Pelagic Birding Tour-Day 2 report (Sep 7)

Hello birders,

We started today at Santa Barbara island viewing Brown and Blue-footed boobies. There is a pair of Blue-footed boobies and about 100 Brown boobies. Everyone got great looks at both.

After leaving the island we had a fly-by of a Red footed booby.  it was a very quick look. Then we saw lots of shearwaters, terns and jaegers and then another Red footed booby flew close to the boat.

We’ve had multiple sightings of common dolphin over a large area.

Capt Art and Team Searcher

Red-footed booby does a fly-by

Hello birders,

We had a great day today with plenty of sightings, great looks at boobies, Craveri’s murrelets, red-billed tropicbird, Black-footed albatross and sun fish! We also had great weather all day with calm seas and light winds.

We ended the day with putting out a slick of fish oil and had several black storm petrels and pink-footed shearwaters. We are currently anchored at San Miguel island for the night and headed out to deep water and south all day tomorrow.

Capt Art and Team Searcher

2021-09-08T07:23:07-07:00September 8th, 2021|Census|

2021 Pelagic Birding Tour-Day 1 report (Sep 6)

Hello birders,

We enjoyed a very productive and busy first day all within 30 miles  of San Diego! Shearwaters (black vented, pink-footed and sooty), storm petrels (black, Townsends and ashy), Sabines gull, Artic and common terns, jaegers (Pomarine, long tailed and parasitic), boobys (brown and white-phase red footed). We put out a fish oil slick and had great looks at the storm petrels.

The highlight was sighting Craveri’s murrelets in calm seas with very little wind.

Looking forward to tomorrow morning at Santa Barbara Island, especially the booby colony there.

Capt Art and Team Searcher

Craveri’s murrelet (Todd McGrath) and Pink-footed shearwater (Tom Blackman) photos from previous trips

2021-09-07T07:09:26-07:00September 7th, 2021|Census|

Offshore pelagic birding report (July 2021)

We are able to share this report thanks to local birders: Paul Lehman, Dave Povey, David Trissel, John Dumlao

A small group of birders went offshore on Saturday, 17 July, out to the San Diego Trough, 30-Mile Bank, and “The Corner.” Conditions were reasonably nice, with light winds.

The highlights of the day were yet 5+ more COOK’S PETRELS in San Diego waters and a record one-day count for the state of 68 CRAVERI’S MURRELETS. The Cook’s were in the San Diego Trough (2)–as close as 20.5 mi W of Point Loma–on the 30-Mile Bank (2), and at “The Corner” (1+, repeated sightings).

Almost all the Craveri’s were in the western quarter of the Trough and on the 30-Mile Bank and were regularly in flocks of four to six birds. Other species of note included two one-year-old jaegers, of which one appears to be a young LONG-TAILED and the other currently uncertain (rare in July; both in Trough), 2 Leach’s Storm-Petrels (Trough), 8 Ashy Storm-Petrels, a getting-late Scripps’s Murrelet (Trough), a Brown Booby, and a Common Tern.

Also well-offshore flocks of Black-bellied Plovers and Short-billed Dowitchers. Another clear highlight of the trip was the spread-out group of FALSE KILLER WHALES in the Trough which were clearly shredding fish, as large numbers of Black Storm-Petrels and Pink-footed Shearwaters were actively feeding over and around them.

Some misc. totals for the trip included 32 Red-necked Phalaropes, 5 Cassin’s Auklets, 400 Black Storm-Petrels, and 80 Pink-footed & 55 Sooty Shearwaters.

–Paul Lehman, Dave Povey, David Trissel, John Dumlao

2021-07-20T07:01:22-07:00July 20th, 2021|News|

Paper just Published about “Flue,” the blue/fin whale!

Searcher naturalist, Paul Jones, shares this exciting 2020 sighting while aboard Searcher!

On March 17, 2020, while Searcher was just west of Isla Monserrat in the Gulf of California and we were looking for whales, the crew spotted what appeared to be a blue whale at first glance. However, as we got closer, there was considerable disagreement as to what we were looking at. Clearly, this whale had some color and body shape that was indicative of a blue whale. But other characteristics reflected what we have seen in fin whales. As it circled the boat, we were finally able on one pass to see the lower jaw on the right side, which should have been definitive for a fin whale – and it was all dark. So, the mystery whale had us continuing the debate well into the afternoon, past the time when we found three fin whales and two blue whales to follow, and into the night. Because of some good sleuthing in his expansive, digital marine mammal literature database, Tom Jefferson found a paper that led us to believe we had seen a hybrid fin/blue whale. The story that unfolded is told in our recently published scientific paper is amazing – this male is the offspring of a male fin whale and female blue whale and he travels back and forth from Southern California waters to the Gulf of California. Plus, there’s lots more about fin/blue hybrids and their movements between these waterbodies. We encourage you to read on by clicking the link to the paper below.

Sightings and Satellite Tracking of a Blue/Fin Whale Hybrid in its Wintering and Summering Ranges in the Eastern North Pacific

Authors: Jefferson Thomas, Palacios Daniel, Calambokidis John, Baker C. Scott, Hayslip Craig, Jones Paul, Lagerquist Barbara, Jørgensen Morten and Schulman-Janiger Alisa

https://irispublishers.com/aomb/pdf/AOMB.MS.ID.000545.pdf

Enjoy Paul Jones’ video on top and Searcher video below for two different views of this special whale.

2021-05-04T13:45:13-07:00May 4th, 2021|News|

March 18 in Laguna San Ignacio

Researchers in Laguna San Ignacio reported the following estimated numbers of gray whales during their 25 Mar 2021 census:

  • 17 mother/calf pairs and 31 singles for a total of 65 whales

Gray whale calf meets an admirer aboard Searcher. (photos thanks to Chris Earley)

2021-03-30T09:28:35-07:00March 30th, 2021|Census|

March 18 in Laguna San Ignacio

Researchers in Laguna San Ignacio reported the following estimated numbers of gray whales during their 18 Mar 2021 census:

  • 19 mother/calf pairs and 89 singles for a total of 127 whales

Gray whale calf meets an admirer aboard Searcher. (photos thanks to Chris Earley)

2021-03-20T08:11:53-07:00March 20th, 2021|Census|

March 7 in Laguna San Ignacio

Researchers in Laguna San Ignacio reported the following estimated numbers of gray whales during their 7 Mar 2021 census:

  • 16 mother/calf pairs and 101 singles for a total of 133 whales
2021-03-08T13:08:08-08:00March 8th, 2021|Census|

February 24 in Laguna San Ignacio

Researchers in Laguna San Ignacio reported the following numbers of gray whales during their 24 Feb 2021 census:

  • 26 mother/calf pairs and 95 singles for a total of 147 whales
2021-02-27T11:34:55-08:00February 27th, 2021|Census|

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