Sunday, September 13, 2020

OPT September 12 Pelagic Summary

11 intrepid birders braved the smoke and closed highways, and our September 12 pelagic went out from Newport yesterday. We enjoyed the calmest ocean I can remember in a long time. We did escape the smoke that is covering Western Oregon, but unfortunately the smoke was replaced by dense fog. We also knew that commercial fishing boats were in the area, but never found them. As a result, we had to work hard for our birds, although we did see most, but not all, of the expected species on a fall trip. Because we had several birders on their first pelagic, close views of Black-footed Albatross and Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel were a highlight. Sooty and Pink-footed Shearwaters showed well, and eventually everyone got decent views of Cassin's and Rhinoceros Auklets. Both phalaropes were present although Red-necked outnumbered Red. Although we missed all three jaegers, we did have a South Polar Skua fly by the boat -- our first for the year. Russ Namitz and Jim Danzenbaker did their usual outstanding job guiding. We have four more trips this year: 8 hour trips on September 26 and October 24, a 10 hour trip on October 4, and a 7 hour trip on December 5. The trips on September 26 and October 4 are already confirmed to go, weather permitting.