Saturday, November 8, 2014

Upcoming trip: February 7, 2015

Laysan Albatross Oregon Pelagic Tours
Laysan Albatross
[Participants: Check back here a few days before the trip for trip update (weather forecast, trip reminders).]

Join us as a chapter begins in birding the Pacific Ocean off Oregon!  The first trip of the new Oregon Pelagic Tours is an 8 hour winter seabirds trip. This particular trip goes out of Newport, Oregon about 25 miles. The price will be $140, with a discount of $10 to the first ten people who register -- registration is only complete when payment is received.

Target species:
Laysan Albatross
Short-tailed Shearwater
Rock Sandpiper (jetty)
Ancient Murrelet
Black-legged Kittiwake

Possible winter rarities:
Short-tailed Albatross (Feb 2014, Mar 2006, Mar 2001)
Horned Puffin (Feb 2009, Mar 2007)
Parakeet Auklet (Dec 2012)
Mottled Petrel (Dec 2012)

Highlights from February 2014: 
2 Long-tailed Duck
1 Laysan Albatross
18 Black-footed Albatross
35 Ancient Murrelet 
20 Black-legged Kittiwake

The success rate for pelagic trips offshore in the last 9 winters has been 6 of 9 (67%), which is quite good--only 3 trips canceled for rough seas. But you should have alternate land-based birding plans--just in case. The success rate for finding Laysan Albatrosses when we do get offshore the last 9 winters is 6 of 6 (100%), many with multiple sightings!

Possible weather date: February 21. We are experimenting with offering a second date as a back-up if our trip weathers out on February 7.  This alternative will only work if most of the February 7 participants are also availaible to go out on February 21.  Please indicate on your reservation if you would be willing to go on this date if the February 7 date is weathered out.

Departure time: 7:30 am
(Arrive 30 minutes early for roll call and orientation.)

Price: $130 for first 10 passengers who register and send payment; otherwise $140 per person. 

To reserve your space click on the Reservations tab above.

Preparation material is here.

Oregon Pelagic Tours

Pelagic bird watching off Oregon
Pelagic bird watching off Oregon.
Welcome to Oregon Pelagic Tours!

Please join one of our fun and exciting pelagic trips--guided ocean bird watching boat trips. Most of our trips are aboard 55 foot chartered fishing vessels carrying 30 participants and travel out 25-35 miles from shore. But we have some other trips scheduled throughout the year--shorter trips for beginners, longer excursions with rare seabirds as the target.

On these offshore voyages we see pelagic birds that are rarely seen from shore. These birds breed in remote areas all around the Pacific Ocean and spend most of their lives far at sea. On your trip with us you may see, side-by-side, seabirds that breed on Arctic tundra (Sabine's Gull, Parasitic, Pomarine, and Long-tailed Jaegers, Red and Red-necked Phalaropes, Arctic Terns), or islands off New Zealand (Sooty, Buller's, and Flesh-footed Shearwaters), Chile (Sooty and Pink-footed Shearwaters), Hawaii (Laysan and Black-footed Albatrosses), southern California (Scripps's Murrelet), Oregon (Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel, Cassin's and Rhinoceros Auklets, and Tufted Puffins), the Aleutian Islands (Northern Fulmars, Ancient Murrelets, and Black-legged Kittiwakes), in nearby old growth forests (Marbled Murrelets) or local headlands (Common Murres, Pigeon Guillemots), or on remote Antarctica (South Polar Skuas).

Pelagic birds off Oregon
Pelagic birds off Oregon
Birds are seen sitting on the water or flying by. At certain points in the trip, albatrosses, fulmars, gulls, and storm-petrels are baited to the boat for photography and prolonged views. These in turn often attract other birds. On some trips we encounter fishing fleets working offshore attracting thousands of birds. Other trips have fewer concentrations. But all trips are designed to travel to the best offshore areas and pick up the most seabird species possible.

Our guides work hard to show you the birds and point out their field marks. Guides also describe each seabirds' unique flight style that allows identification of most species from as far away as you can see them.

Many of our exciting pelagic birding trips encounter Gray Whales near shore and Humpback Whales farther out. Several other great whales have been seen. Several species of seals, sea lions, dolphins, and porpoises are regular. If seas are calm marine fishes, sharks, and jellies may be spotted in the water.

Humpback Whale off Oregon
Humpback Whale off Oregon.