Westerlies are not something we look forward to...many times birds are pushed farther offshore and might not be hungry enough or close enough to follow the scent trail to our boat. We've had some west winds this summer and while Friday had some brisk southwest winds (and a lot of heat filled storms offshore...so many that we didn't even chance going out), Saturday had some north westerly wind in the forecast. But that morning, just more westerlies. The swell, however, was from the southeast...that was a plus. And there were some squalls still around offshore...another plus. So we headed out to see what we could find - we were not disappointed!!
Just over the shelf break we started seeing shearwaters and Black-capped Petrels! A small group of Red-necked Phalaropes zipped by. By 0900 we were with a nice flock of feeding birds over some skipjack tuna. We saw Sooty Terns up high that led us to the shearwaters and petrels and we were able to work this group of feeding birds for over an hour watching Black-capped Petrels, Cory's, Scopoli's, Great, and Audubon's Shearwaters feed together and then settle down repeatedly as the fish pushed to the surface again and again. A Bridled Tern visited the group (photo by Chris Sloan)
Around 1130 a nice squall line formed nearby and Brian let it approach as close as he safely could! Black-capped Petrels seemed to appear out of thin air as they rode the winds along the front! (photo by Kate Sutherland)
Just before 1230 Chris Sloan and Jamie Adams spotted a Fea's Petrel zipping up the slick towards the boat!! Everyone got on it and even though it came in to the chum, it didn't stick around in spite of the delicious morsels I put out to entice it to make another pass. At least we got some record shots of this sleek gadfly! (photo Kate Sutherland)
Thanks to everyone who joined us out there and thanks to those from Friday's trip who were able to stay on for Saturday! The reward was nice! We still have space on a number of trips this summer: August 21, 22, 28, 29, and September 5. A big thank you to Chris Sloan and Jacob Farmer for helping us lead the trip and contributing photos!
Trip List August 15, 2020