2019 Pelagic Birding Tour (September 2-6)

Hello all,

We’ve had another tremendous day offshore.We started 15 miles west of the Cotez Bank area and had multiple sightings of Cook’s petrels (photo from a previous trip), albatross, shearwaters and storm petrels, and a single red-billed tropicbird, all before 9 am!  We traveled out along the drop off on the southern edge of the Cortez Bank, and then decided to head southeast towards the 60-mile bank with hopes of seeing Guadalupe murrelets. We were not disappointed. We came across a pair on the water close to the Cortez. Everyone had a great look and we celebrated finding this rare bird in this area. That made for many “life birds” to go around for the group.

We ended the trip anchored on the 60-mile bank while Dave Povey used the last of the fish oil and parts and attracted 8 black-footed albatross. We all agree it was a very successful pelagic birding trip and great job by the leaders!

Arriving in San Diego tomorrow morning.

Capt Art and Team Searcher

September 5th, 2019|Trip Reports|

2019 Pelagic Birding Tour (September 2-6)

Hello all,

We’ve enjoyed a tremendous day offshore in deep water today! We left San Miguel Island after breakfast and it didn’t take long for three black-footed albatross to join us and stay for a while. Then loads of sooty and pink-footed shearwaters arrived, followed by Buller’s shearwaters. We had albatross behind the boat for almost the entire day.

We saw a few lue whales but were mostly able to just view their blows due to windy conditions. The storm petrel watching was really good. Leader Dave Povey kept a fish oil slick behind the boat all day, so we attracted loads of them. The highlight was a Townsend’s storm petrel which is a bird that one customer needed to make his list an even 700 species in the U.S. Quite an accomplishment!

Leach’s, Wilson’s, black and ashy storm petrels were added to the list of storm petrels. We encountered a few more blue whales and then we arrived on the San Juan Seamount. This is  is a shallow that comes up to 1800 feet of water out of 12,000 feet depth. It can be a very productive spot located 190 miles west of San Diego.

The San Juan Seamount did not disappoint–we had our first look at a Cook’s petrel. This a bird we all hope to see on this trip. We saw multiple Cook’s in the area along with Bullers, sooty and pink-footed shearwaters. Albatross found us as well. We were treated with a red-billed tropicbird and then at the end of the day, a Nazca booby flew right over the boat.

We are looking forward to tomorrow!

Capt Art and Team Searcher

September 5th, 2019|Trip Reports|

2019 Pelagic Birding Tour (September 2-6)

Hello all,

We started our day at Santa Barbara with some poor conditions for visibility. We had some heavy fog so it was difficult to get a look at the booby colony. There were some in flight and we got a brief sighting of a Nazca booby, but not quite what we had hoped for. Eventually the fog cleared as we travelled west on a temperature break and enjoyed periods of good visibility.

Pink-footed shearwater photo from a previous trip @ Todd McGrath

We saw more sooty and pink-footed shearwaters, jaegers and Sabine’s gulls, a couple of large flocks of ashy storm petrels and a few black storm petrels mixed in. We came across six minke whales (click for more details and photos) and in the afternoon we saw two orcas: one female and one large male with a tall dorsal fin. They had just fed on something which produced a large slick on the surface and there was lots of birds there including gulls, shearwaters, jaegers and storm petrels. It was exciting for awhile! We are headed northwest to San Miguel Island for the night and headed offshore in deep water for tomorrow.

Capt Art and Team Searcher

September 4th, 2019|Trip Reports|

2019 Pelagic Birding Tour (September 2-6)

Hello birders,

We departed on our annual pelagic bird watching trip today, Labor Day Monday. We started by heading west to the 30-mile Bank and then up the ridge to the northwest. We spotted large numbers of black-vented and pink-footed shearwaters, with a few sooty shearwaters mixed in. Also had good looks at Craveri’s murrelets close to the boat in calm conditions. There were a few jaegers, phalaropes, and storm petrels throughout the day as well.

Craveris murrelet @ McGrath, taken on a previous Searcher pelagic

For the marine mammals, we had a great look at a Bryde’s whale close to the boat and a small group of 100 common dolphins. Then a quick look at a sunfish too.

We were lucky to have calm conditions all day. We are headed west to Santa Barbara Island for a look at boobies in the morning.

Capt Art and Team Searcher

September 2nd, 2019|Trip Reports|

2019 Pelagic Birding Tour (September 2-6)

Sunday, September 1

Many birders arrived to town early enough to attend the pre-trip presentation, offered by leader Todd McGrath, on the variety of species we expect to find..fingers crossed for a rarity. Tour begins on Monday!


“Seabirders will spend 5 days in deep waters of the US from San Diego to Channel Islands! Seabirds, marine mammals, fish and sharks…they have time to observe it all!”

From September 2-6, 2019 Pelagic Birding Tour. Posted by Searcher Natural History Tours on 9/02/2019 (12 items)

Generated by Facebook Photo Fetcher 2


September 2nd, 2019|Trip Reports|

Tour #5 (Apr 8-15, 2019) – Sea of Cortez

Hello whalewatchers,
Our final day of the 2019 natural history tour season was tremendous! We enjoyed great ocean conditions with light winds, calm seas and sunny skies. We had terrific humpback whalewatching, with several humpbacks in the Gorda Banks area. There were trios, cows with calves, and groups of five whales. Since the sea was also very clear, we had excellent views of these humpback whalewatching. They were showing all the behaviors too, like fluking and leaping, which is always great for photography. We also saw a large group of bottlenose dolphin.
We travelled north east to Bahia Los Frailes and the group went ashore for a beach walk and birdwatching. After the walk there was a snorkel session in warm clean water and lots of reef fishes. Everyone enjoyed the afternoon activities.
We ended the day with a lovely sunset, margaritas and a back deck buffet with BBQ ribs, coleslaw, cornbread, mac and cheese, and banana bread.
It was another successful trip with happy clients and great whalewatching.

The entire 2019 season was great, and as usual, it went by very quickly. The sightings throughout the season were tremendous, as were our wonderful passengers. Thank you for joining us on your Baja adventure! Stay tuned to 2020.

Capt Art and Team Searcher

April 22nd, 2019|Trip Reports|

Tour #5 (Apr 8-15, 2019) – offshore Bahia Magdalena

Hello whalewatchers:

We’re checking in with a mid-day report of whales! We are off of Bahia Magdalena and have seen humpback whales, common dolphins and lots of birds, such as pink-footed and sooty shearwaters, frigate bird, Sabines gulls, and black storm petrels. We’re looking forward to the rest of today.

Capt Art and Team Searcher

Hello whalewatchers,

After lunch we spent three hours with blue whales outside the entrance to Bahia Magdalena! It was great whalewatching with six blue whales all within a 2-mile area. Most of the whales surfaced frequently so we could keep track of them easily. One whale came close to fluking every time –we did get a great look at its fluke! Lots of life in the area with 1500-2000 common dolphins lots of birds such as shearwaters, terns, gulls and a single black-footed albatross. It was an eventful afternoon!

Capt Art and Team Searcher

April 14th, 2019|Trip Reports|

Tour #5 (Apr 8-15, 2019) – Laguna San Ignacio, day 2

Hello whalewatchers,

It was our final day in Laguna San Ignacio for our 2019 season and we all said some fond farewells.

Today our group had great whalewatching this morning with several mothers and calves around the pangas. Everyone returned to Searcher with smiles from both trips.

The wind came up this afternoon, so the group went to the mangroves for some birdwatching and to the beach for a walk on a beautiful remote shore. Everyone enjoyed their trips today.

Capt Art and Team Searcher

April 13th, 2019|Trip Reports|

Tour #5 (Apr 8-15, 2019) – Laguna San Ignacio, day 1

Hello whalewatchers,

We arrived during breakfast today to Laguna San Ignacio. There were multiple pairs of gray whale mother/calf pairs in the entrance so we sent everyone out for two trips this morning in good weather. Everyone had a close encounter with a gray whale before lunch.

The group went back out for an extended trip after lunch to be more efficient with the time they had with the whales. Everyone returned with smiles again after seeing plenty of whales. The happy hour flag was raised and everyone is enjoying a Modelo Especial beer on the back deck.

Looking forward to tomorrow.

Capt Art and Team Searcher

April 13th, 2019|Trip Reports|

Tour #5 (Apr 8-15, 2019) – Islas San Benito

Hello whalewatcheres,

We arrived at Islas San Benito before breakfast. Everyone went ashore and had a great day on the island. There were plenty of elephant seals who had returned to molt and weaned pups from this year are still there. (Photos by Chris Earley and Nigel Carter.)

There were good looks at osprey on the nest with chicks. We traveled south this afternoon and had a visit from Pacific white-sided dolphins which have been rare this season. They rode the bow for a long time and everyone had a good look. We saw black-footed and Laysan albatross too.

We are headed to Laguna San Ignacio and looking for gray whales.

Capt Art and Team Searcher

April 12th, 2019|Trip Reports|

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