Saturday, October 12, 2013

12 October 2013

Following is a quick trip report for the 12-hour pelagic with Island Packers out of the Ventura Harbor on Oct 12.  Our path from the Ventura Harbor took us south to Anacapa Island, then through the Anacapa Passage to the area south of the northern Channel islands where we then traveled west-southwest to the waters north and west of San Nicolas Island.  From there we went around the south side of San Nicolas, then east to the Osborne Bank and Santa Barbara Island, and then back to Ventura.

The day started off with a bang when we found the recent resident Brown Booby on the channel marker on the outer breakwater of the Ventura Harbor.  This would only be the start of our booby experiences for the day.  The trip to Anacapa had us passing through sizable flocks of Black-vented Shearwaters in the Santa Barbara Channel where we also encountered Sooty and Pink-footed Shearwaters, and Parasitic and Pomarine Jaegers.  East Anacapa Island produced eight Blue-footed Boobies on the cliffs below the lighthouse!  Captain Anthony skillfully navigated this area to get us close to the island for great views and photo ops of this rare species.  Several boobies flew right by the boat providing great flight shots for many of the photographers on board.  While it was tough to leave the boobies, we cruised west along the northern shore of Anacapa where we were treated to two American Oystercatchers.  Unlike the hybrids in the Ventura Harbor, these birds
would pass the Jehl Scale as Americans.

Leaving Anacapa, we went south through the Anacapa Passage and then (due to a live-fire military closure) headed west to get beyond the military's activities and head south towards San Nicolas Island. The seas got rough and birds were sparse except for the occasional Northern Fulmar, but we were rewarded with a Buller's Shearwater, South Polar Skua, a late Long-tailed Jaeger, and an Arctic Tern.  These are all difficult to find on southern California trips so we were fortunate to encounter all of them on this leg of the trip.  The return trip turned up the occasional shearwater, fulmar, and phalarope until we started back north from Santa Barbara Island where we encountered several Black Storm-Petrels to cap off our day at sea.

I would like to thank the leaders that worked hard all day searching for birds (Todd McGrath, Jon Feenstra, Adam Searcy, Peter Gaede, Don DesJardin, and Wes Fritz) as well as the Island Packers Crew (Captain Anthony Lombardi, Joel Barrett, and DeeDee Anderson) who did an outstanding job as usual.  I am always amazed that three people could do so much to handle the needs of 65 birders.

Species summary by County: Ventura/Santa Barbara

Pacific Loon - 1/0

Western Grebe - 50/0
Northern Fulmar - 17/19
Pink-footed Shearwater - 19/25
Buller's Shearwater - 0/1
Sooty Shearwater - 8/1
Black-vented Shearwater- 700/
Black Storm-Petrel - 3/3
Brandt's Cormorant - 875/175
Pelagic Cormorant - 16/7
Brown Pelican - 410/0
Great Blue Heron - 1/0
Snowy Egret - 1/0
Black Oystercatcher - 4/0
Black-bellied Plover - 2/0
Long-billed Curlew - 3/0
Marbled Godwit - 1/0
Red-necked Phalarope - 25/0
Red Phalarope - 6/0
Cassin's Auklet - 4/2
South Polar Skua - 1/0
Pomarine Jaeger - 5/3
Parasitic Jaeger - 9/0
Long-tailed Jaeger - 0/1
Heermann's Gull - 80/0
Western Gull - 1183/162
California Gull - 7/0
Arctic Tern - 1/0
Royal Tern - 0/50
Elegant Tern - 27/
Peregrine Falcon - 2/0

We intend to schedule more trips out of Ventura and Santa Barbara in the upcoming year and hope to see you at sea!


Dave Pereksta

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