Report for September 21, 2013 Pelagic out of Orange County
On Saturday, September 21, Sea & Sage Audubon held its annual fall pelagic trip on board the Ocean Institute's R/V Sea Explorer out of Dana Point. We began by checking the jetty for shorebirds and Blue-footed Boobies, then upon exiting the harbor we headed south toward San Mateo Point, where we turned around and began traveling northwest along the escarpment. When we reached the Headlands, we turned west out toward Lausen Sea Mount, traveled north over the top of the mount, and then headed in toward Newport, and then ended by returning back along the escarpment to Dana Point.
In general, bird numbers and diversity were rather low. The exception was two large flocks of Black-vented Shearwaters, both numbering over a thousand birds; both were along the escarpment with the first off of the Headlands and the second off of Newport. As mentioned in my previous post, the highlight was a juvenile Sabine's Gull at the north east edge of the Lausen Sea Mount that was seen well by everybody on board. Other pelagic species encountered included Pink-footed Shearwater (5), Red-necked Phalarope (25-30), Pomarine Jaeger (5), Parasitic Jaeger (1), and two pairs of small alcids. On the jetty we saw Black Oystercatcher (2), Black Turnstone (2), Surfbird (1), and Wandering Tattler (1). Despite the recent influx, we did not encounter any Blue-footed Boobies during our trip. Also notable was the complete absence of Sooty Shearwaters.