Two weeks after conditions forced us to cancel a Winter Seabirds Trip on February 7th, we finally made it out of Newport on our first Oregon Pelagic Tours trip on February 21st. 27 passengers, 15 of them from the OSU Bird Nerds, joined the 3 guides on our favorite boat, Misty (out of Newport Tradewinds), with Skipper Rob.
The ocean was a little rougher than we had expected, as the swells, while low, were quite close together. Still, that did not stop us as we headed out. As we turned south out of the bay searching for Marbled Murrelets, some people were rewarded with views of 2 Ancient Murrelets, a target species. We saw a number of Marbled Murrelets, Common Murres and Pigeon Guillemots, before heading offshore.
Overall numbers were low, but we did see a total of 9 Laysan Albatross (one of the target birds for the trip), Black-footed Albatross, Northern Fulmar, only 2 Pink-footed Shearwaters (!), many Black-legged Kittiwakes, and very good views of a rare Parakeet Auklet near the boat. A second Parakeet Auklet was seen later. Our two chum stops brought in gulls, kittiwakes and both species of albatross, so passengers got to enjoy these birds at close range.
The trip back, although under the sunny skies we had enjoyed all day, was relatively uneventful, but we did add a couple more species as we returned to Yaquina Bay, including one Barrow's Goldeneye and 2 Common Goldeneye.
Our next trip is our 12 hour Spring Deepwater Trip on May 17th.