Sunday, November 22, 2015

November 21 Pelagic Summary

20 birders and 5 guides had very nice ocean conditions as we made it out 31 miles on this 7 hour pelagic. Our trip started with a good bird early, as we picked up a a single Long-tailed Duck hanging out in the bay with Bufflehead and numerous loons and grebes. We managed poor looks at Marbled Murrelets south of the jetty, then headed offshore. We stopped for a large flock of birds over bait fish nine miles offshore, and were rewarded with excellent looks at Short-tailed Shearwater.  Distinguishing between this species and Sooty Shearwater is an under-appreciated identification problem, and as a result, we left many individuals in the unidentified category.  The rest of the day, we worked hard for our birds, as shown by our single Black-footed Albatross, which came to investigate our chum slick. We did see another target species, Ancient Murrelet, but most of us had to settle for distant views.  Black-legged Kittiwakes put on a good show, as did Northern Fulmars, , and we had views of Rhinoceros and Cassin's Auklets, an intriguing murre thought by some to be a possible Thick-billed, and several gull species.  The wind waves settled down as we headed back in, and we arrived at the dock satisfied with our November pelagic.