Total ABA Species Recorded During 2010 - 731

Friday, September 17, 2010

Half Moon Bay Pelagic II

Yesterday was a repositioning day moving from Santa Rosa to my motel near the San Francisco airport.  In addition to making it easy to get to the airport, this is also a convenient location to stay when doing Half Moon Bay pelagic trips.  I had to get a few snack supplies for the boat trip and work on arrangements for the trip next week.
Today I drove over the coastal range on a winding road in the fog to get to La Granada on Half Moon Bay where the marina and the boat are located.  We did get started on time but the first hour plus was fogged in.  We finally started getting enough visibility that we could see the birds.  The species composition was pretty much the same as on Monday.  We got out to warmer water, about 62F, where we did run into several flocks of storm-petrels sitting on the water.  We worked them as carefully as we could.  It's difficult to get very close to these flocks before they break up and fly away.  But on the day we did have six species of storm-petrel: Ashy (photo) the most common by far, Black, Fork-tailed, Wilson's, Leach's, and Least.  During the long day of chumming a couple of Laysan Albatrosses (photo) came in.  But the bird of the day was a Flesh-footed Shearwater that came through the chumming at the back of the boat and kept on going.  I got a reasonable pic (photo).  This was a yearbird and brought the total to 701.  On the way back to the marina we encountered a group of feeding Humpback Whales.  It's been a good year for krill here along the California coast and the whales were chowing down.  They roll on their side and push forward with their mouths open.  Then they close their mouths and squeeze the excess water out through the baleen and swallow.  The whales weren't the only creatures feeding on the krill.  Lots of squid were doing it too.  We noticed the squid first by their water squirts that shot out of the water.  That's a product of their method of propulsion.  We netted a couple of them and some krill to take a closeup look.  I got my hand inky as a consequence of trying to pick up a fallen squid.  The krill are pink, shrimplike organisms about an inch long.  The squid were about six inches long.  We spent about an hour watching this spectacle.  During this feeding process, the whales were all around us, sometimes coming right under the boat.  Tomorrow I fly to Norfolk so Saturday will be a travel day.

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1 comment:

  1. Bob - good luck the rest of the year. I was on the Pelagic with you - I ended up with 16 lifers (my first ever Pelagic).

    I noticed that you have not accounted for the Whip-poor-will split (did not find the Winter Wren split, but could have missed that too).

    Jon Mann
    Scottsdale, AZ