Monday, August 29, 2016

Fall Deepwater Trip Highlights

The 12 hour trip on August 27 was one amazing pelagic trip.  We were aboard Enterprise, out of Newport Tradewinds, skippered by Dave DeBelloy, with deckhand Isaac.  We made it to 49.5 miles offshore (1280 fathoms or 7680 feet depth), and chummed there and earlier at 30.6 miles offshore (180 fathoms or 1080 feet depth).  At the first chum stop, Russ Namitz spotted a very cooperative HAWAIIAN PETREL, which unlike our spring bird, stayed around long enough for everyone to see it and for multiple photos to be taken.  Ironically, with two trip cancellations this year, Oregon Pelagic Tours has had Hawaiian Petrel on 100% of its trips in 2016!  (This is an example of how statistics can be misleading, as both of our trips to date were the only two 12 hour/deepwater trips.)  Two LAYSAN ALBATROSS were thought to be the same bird until Wayne Hoffman looked closely at photos of the underwing and noted two distinct patterns. Not too long ago, Laysan Albatross in August would been considered very unusual.  It is likely the increase of breeding Laysans off Mexico has helped to account for birds being seen off Oregon pretty much year-round now.  Not rare, but Sabine's Gulls came close to the boat and gave us incredible views, and we had good views of numerous Arctic Terns as well.  One LEACH'S STORM-PETREL raced by the boat and was seen by few.  Our final rarity came on the way back in, when David Mandell spotted a SCRIPPS'S MURRELET.  We were able to get nice looks and some photos of this bird as well.  A great trip -- more details and photos to follow.