Great Start to 2021 with Offshore Pelagic Sightings!

We are excited to share these recent offshore sightings from local pelagic experts, Dave Povey and Matt Sadowski, who were out to cover the offshore areas on 2 Jan 2021.

Searcher Natural History Tours has scheduled our NEW 3-day pelagic birding tour over Memorial Day weekend!   We plan to spend time covering the distant waters needed to access these birds while we search, observe, and photograph birds and other marine life including whales and dolphins. Leaders will include Dave Povey and Dave Pereksta.

The following is a partial list and numbers from the trip on 2 Jan 2021. Dave reports:

“Most birds were beyond 5 nautical miles, and many more at 10 nautical miles plus. We covered a wide area from below Point Loma including the Nine Mile Bank, and covered south to north and all the way into La Jolla Canyon.”

    • Northern Fulmar (1)
    • Pink-footed Shearwater (1)
    • dark shearwater sp. (1)
    • Black-vented Shearwater (4000+)
    • Brown Booby (1)
    • Red Phalarope (4)
    • Parasitic Jaeger (1)
    • Pomarine Jaeger (3-5)
    • jaeger sp. (2)
    • Scripps’s Murrelet (2)
    • Cassin’s Auklet (1)
    • Rhinoceros Auklet (2-3)
    • Bonaparte’s Gull (1000+)
    • California Gull (700)
    • Royal Tern (5-6)
2021-01-04T12:08:07-08:00January 4th, 2021|News, Trip Reports|

Pelagic Birding Trip

Searcher Natural History Tours’ annual 5-day Labor Day pelagic birding trip sailed Sept 7-11, 2020. Passengers and leaders surveyed deep-water areas from the southwestern limits of the ABA, north to the Channel Islands, and west to the Rodriguez Dome and San Juan Seamount, offshore up to 200 miles.

Highlight sightings included Laysan albatross;  Guadalupe, Scripps, and Craveri’s murrelets (in the same day!); Sabine’s gull; Nazca and Blue-footed boobies; South Polar skua; Cook’s petrel; and a flock of Buller’s shearwaters. Over 100 species were observed and photographed.
Join us in 2021! There’s a few spots still open so you can reserve your spot at the rail. Meanwhile, enjoy our highlights video!
link to 2021 trip: 2021 Pelagic Birding Tour
2020-10-30T10:04:30-07:00October 30th, 2020|Trip Reports|

2020 Pelagic Birding Tour Sep 7-11

Hello all,

It’s been excellent day with plenty of things to look at including storm petrels, shearwaters, and albatrosses including at least 20 black-footed and the highlight of the day: a laysan albatross! Lots of people added this bird to their life list.

We spent quite a bit of time on the Cortez Bank with albatrossess next to the boat. And then had a surprise visit from an immature Nazca booby too. Great weather again with a little breeze this afternoon. Headed home tonight after a very successful trip!

Captain Art and Team Searcher

2020-09-11T14:27:18-07:00September 11th, 2020|Trip Reports|

2020 Pelagic Birding Tour Sep 7-11

Hello all,

We had a great day today and several people added to their life list! Passenger Ben had a birthday today and added four birds to his life list.

We saw all three possible murrelets today: Craveri’s, Scripps’s and Guadalupe. That was a first for us on this annual trip!
The weather was calm, and we had good looks at blue whales and a distant look at fin whales. Common dolphin showed up as well.

Captain Art and Team Searcher

2020-09-10T11:01:58-07:00September 10th, 2020|Trip Reports|

2020 Pelagic Birding Tour Sep 7-11

Hello all,

We started our day at Santa Barbara Island where a brown booby colony has established. Recently a blue footed booby has joined the colony, so this is the first time that we have seen a blue-footed booby on our Southern California pelagic tours, which is significant. There is speculation that there might be breeding between the brown and blue-footed boobies.

After spending time viewing the boobies, we headed west towards a temperature change with hopes of some bird life there. There were shearwaters, storm petrels, jaegers ,terns and an occasional murrelet. We also found common dolphins, a few bottlenose dolphins, and a single humpback whale.
We are headed to San Miguel Island to spend the night and then head out into deep water tomorrow.

Captain Art and Team Searcher

Booby colony on a rock at Santa Barbara Island.

2020-09-09T07:40:34-07:00September 9th, 2020|Trip Reports|

2020 Pelagic Birding Tour Sep 7-11

Hello all,

We departed on our annual pelagic birding trip today. We are headed west for the afternoon.

We saw loads of black-vented shearwaters on the 9-mile bank. And we went through an area of black storm petrels with an occasional least storm petrel. We also listed pomarine jaegers, Sabine’s gulls, and masked and brown boobies.

We are continuing west tonight and starting at Santa Barbara island hoping for a look at the brown booby colony.

Enjoying great weather!
Captain Art and Team Searcher

We are always grateful for Tom Blackman’s photos in our birding blog posts, including this one!

2020-09-08T09:59:48-07:00September 8th, 2020|Trip Reports|

2020 Tour #3 March 8-19

Hello whalewatchers,

We are having a great morning! We started with a walk ashore for some birdwatching. And a vermillion flycatcher was the highlight.

We have seen five blue whales so far, and a whale that looks like a blue whale with a larger dorsal fin. Some think it is a fin whale. There’s a debate! here it is up close to the starboard corner with naturalist Tom Jefferson in the frame.

Capt Art and Team Searcher

Hello whalewatchers,

What a tremendous day for whalewatching! We’ve seen several blue whales, a few fin whales, and a couple of humpbacks in the mix. We were able to get very good looks at the whales and there were multiple whales showing flukes, like the blue whale shown here. The weather was great as well.

Capt Art and Team Searcher

2020-07-15T16:34:07-07:00March 18th, 2020|Trip Reports|

2020 Tour #3 March 8-19

Hello whalewatchers,

We had a wonderful sunrise at Punta Colorado, Isla San Jose this morning. Everyone went ashore for a walk. We had a snorkel session and then lunch. We traveled north in the Sea of Cortez towards the peninsula in the productive San Jose channel. We saw two groups of common dolphin and three red-billed tropicbirds along with a pair of laughing gulls in breeding plumage.
We arrived in the area where blue whales have been seen for the last trip and we found two blue whales. We followed one very large whale until we lost our light. It was a very successful day that ended with a back deck BBQ buffet and margaritas.

Capt Art and Team Searcher

2020-03-17T13:12:01-07:00March 17th, 2020|Trip Reports|

2020 Tour #3 March 8-19

Hello whalewatchers,

We spent the day watching humpback whales today in the Gorda Banks area. We also stopped and deployed the hydrophone and we listened to humpbacks singing. That is always a special moment when you first hear a whale on the speaker system. We spent some time with a mother and calf, or you could say they spent time with us. We had great looks at the pair along with another adult that was the escort.
We anchored at Punta Arena for a beach walk and a snorkel session to test out the snorkel gear prior to arriving in La Paz to view the whales sharks there.

Captain Art and Team Searcher

Hello whalewatchers,

We had a lovely day with whale sharks to start the day. Then there were cheeseburgers and fries for lunch followed by common dolphins, a skiff ride and snorkel session at Los Islotes with the sea lions, frigatebirrds, boobies and yellow-footed gulls. The finale of our day was a tremendous sunset.

Captain Art and Team Searcher

Mother (on left) and calf pair humpback whales

 

 

2020-07-15T16:34:07-07:00March 16th, 2020|Trip Reports|

2020 Tour #3 March 8-19

Hello whalewatchers,

Our day off Bahia Magdalena started off with breaching humpbacks and this afternoon we were busy with loads of common dolphins, more humpbacks, sea birds and sea turtles!
The weather was great with some sunshine, light winds and calm seas. It was very pleasant and a great sunset to end the day. Chefs Mike and Sara topped the day off with a great dinner: grilled flank steak with chimichurri sauce,  asparagus, roasted red potatoes and pineapple upside-down cake.
Capt Art and Team Searcher

Breaching humpback calf from previous trip (Photo by Peter Dunn)

2020-07-15T16:34:07-07:00March 16th, 2020|Trip Reports|

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