Saturday, December 15, 2018

2018 ends with a 3 Albatross Day!

What a great December trip we had!  Lucking out with a weather window between fronts, we ran this trip against the odds. Highlights of the trip included a very cooperative ANCIENT MURRELET, two flyby PARAKEET AUKLETS, and an amazing THREE species of albatross: the expected BLACK-FOOTED, the now not surprising LAYSAN ALBATROSS (every Newport trip from August 12 on saw at least one of this species), and an incredible SHORT-TAILED ALBATROSS. The latter came in to our chum slick and gave everyone great looks and photo ops.  Sadly, we had to leave this outstanding species in order to start our trip back to the dock. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Fall season summary

The 2018 fall season ended last Saturday for Oregon Pelagic Tours, and what a fall it was! Here are some of the highlights: 
We were lucky on the weather, and every trip in the summer and fall made it out. We even hit the one day window of  decent weather on our last trip, October 27. If we had been scheduled one day on either side, we would had to cancel. 
Newport fall pelagics had LAYSAN ALBATROSS on every trip, usually multiples. BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS, always a crowd pleaser, again showed on every pelagic. 
The best bird was undoubtedly Oregon's third record of GREAT SHEARWATER, seen and photographed as it came in next to the boat on our September 15th Newport trip. 
We were able to run the first organized pelagic trips in many years out of Garibaldi at the end of September and in conjunction with the Oregon Birding Association's annual meeting. While we were able to find most of the usual suspects, many birders enjoyed the exceptionally cooperative SOUTH POLAR SKUAS.  
It is always fun to monitor migration, and the 460 SABINE'S GULLS, mostly adults, recorded on our October 7th seems to have been a last pulse of southbound birds, as we recorded zero on October 27. 
Our trips recorded six species of shearwater this fall: the expected SOOTY, PINK-FOOTED and BULLER'S, FLESH-FOOTED on several trips, the aforementioned GREAT SHEARWATER, and unexpectedly early SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATERS in August and September.  
Alcids were interesting.  Officially, we had no unusual murrelets, although one passenger was able to spot a Scripps's Murrelet and add it to his list.  The October 27 trip had a record of 5 TUFTED PUFFINS, an uncommonly high number of a species not often seen on our Lincoln County pelagics. The last bit of alcid news involves 2 MARBLED MURRELETS defying conventional wisdom and hanging out 6.25 miles from shore, twice the expected distance. (No amount of studying could turn them into Long-Billed Murrelets.) 
Storm-Petrels were a bit of a conundrum.  We had lower than normal numbers of FORK-TAILED STORM-PETRELS, and missed them completely on our Charleston Shorebird Festival trip, and most people missed them on our October 27 trip, as one individual was called out. 
Those of us addicted to pelagic birding find something enjoyable and interesting every trip, even if we are not able to add life birds to our lists.  
We have one more trip planned for 2018 -- a winter trip scheduled for December 8. 
I look forward to a good 2019 and hope to see you on an Oregon Pelagic Tours pelagic. 

Friday, August 31, 2018

August 25 Pelagic -- more Laysans and Short-taileds, full list

Oregon Pelagic Tours had another very successful pelagic on Saturday, August 25. Here is the complete trip report of our 12 hour pelagic out of Newport on the Enterprise, with Skipper Dave DeBelloy.  Route: Birding the bay, out to draggers 31 miles out, out to 50 miles and 1000 fathoms, cruising deep water, and return.  Excellent weather, perhaps even too little wind at deepwater chum stop. Guides: Tim Shelmerdine, Shawneen Finnegan, David Mandell, Russ Namitz.
All birds, including bay
Surf Scoter 7                                                               Northern Shoveler 5
American Wigeon 2                                                    Northern Pintail  8
Semipalmated Plover 1                                              Ruddy Turnstone 1
Western Sandpiper 6                                                  Red-necked Phalarope 11
Red Phalarope 55                                                       Wandering Tattler 1
Pomarine Jaeger 3                                                      Parasitic Jaeger 1
Long-tailed Jaeger 10                                                  jaeger (sp.?) 4 
Common Murre 132                                                     Pigeon Guillemot 7
Marbled Murrelet 2                                                      Cassin’s Auklet 9
Rhinoceros Auklet 24                                                   Sabine’s Gull 16
Heermann’s Gull 3                                                        Western Gull 169
California Gull 227                                                        Western x Glaucous-winged Gull 2
Common/Arctic Tern 2                                                 Laysan Albatross 3          
Black-footed Albatross 711                                           Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel 82
Northern Fulmar 640                                                     Pink-footed Shearwater 266
Buller’s Shearwater 52                                                  Sooty Shearwater 42
Short-tailed Shearwater 2                                             Sooty/Short-tailed Shearwater 3
Brandt’s Cormorant 98                                                  Pelagic Cormorant 50   
Double-crested Cormorant 90                                      Brown Pelican 11
Great Blue Heron 2                                                       Turkey Vulture 3
Peregrine Falcon 1                                       
Other fauna
Gray whale 1                                                                    humpback whale 2
Harbor porpoise 2                                                            Dall’s porpoise 4
Pacific white-sided dolphin 80                                        northern fur seal 13
Steller’s sea lion 12                                                          California sea lion 8
Harbor seal 1                                                                     blue shark 30

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

August 12 Pelagic -- Sightings

8 hour pelagic out of Newport on the Enterprise, with Skipper Dave DeBelloy.  Birding the bay, out to draggers 30 miles out, out to 35 miles and return.  Guides: Tim Shelmerdine, Russ Namitz, Bob Archer. Huge flocks of birds around fishing vessels.
All birds, including bay: 
Surf Scoter 1                                                     Red-necked Grebe 1
Rock Pigeon 5                                                   Red-necked Phalarope 12
Red Phalarope 171                                           Red-necked/Red Phalarope 150
South Polar Skua 1                                           Pomarine Jaeger 2
Pomarine/Parasitic Jaeger 1                             Long-tailed Jaeger 1
Common Murre 226                                          Pigeon Guillemot 55
Marbled Murrelet 8                                           Cassin’s Auklet 3
Rhinoceros Auklet 5                                         Sabine’s Gull 6
Heermann’s Gull 2                                            Western Gull 86
California Gull 170                                            Glaucous-winged Gull 2
Arctic Tern 2                                                      Common/Arctic Tern 2
Common Loon 1                                                LAYSAN ALBATROSS 2
Black-footed Albatross 865                              Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel 517
Northern Fulmar 1575                                      Pink-footed Shearwater 992                       
FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER 1              Buller’s Shearwater 22  
Sooty Shearwater 41                                         SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER 4
Brandt’s Cormorant 70                                     Pelagic Cormorant 62     
Double-crested Cormorant 75                          Brown Pelican 10
Cliff Swallow 2                                                                                                                                        
Other fauna:
Gray whale 1                                                      humpback whale 1
Harbor porpoise 2                                              Steller’s sea lion 6
California sea lion 8        

Monday, August 13, 2018

August 12 Pelagic -- 2 albatross and 5 shearwater species!

What a way to begin our fall season!  Our 8 hour pelagic out of Newport encountered good weather and ocean conditions and 1000's of birds. As we typically do, we slowly birded the bay after leaving the dock, then turned south looking for Marbled Murrelets.  The murrelets were present, but a bit difficult to see, although good numbers of harbor porpoise and two gray whales, as well as our first Pink-footed and Buller's Shearwaters, did a lot to make up for this.  We headed offshore, finding flocks of phalarope (mostly Red) and other species on the way.  Our skipper, Dave DeBelloy of the Enterprise (Newport Tradewinds) find us draggers and shrimpers offshore, and we had an incredible day with over 700 Black-footed Albatross, at least 2 Laysans, Northern Fulmar (many, unusual for August),  Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels (100's), 1South Polar Skua, Pomarine and Long-tailed Jaegers, Sabine's Gulls, Rhinoceros and Cassin's (few) Auklets and the following shearwaters made our day: Sooty, Pink-footed, Buller's, Flesh-footed (1, not seen by all) and Short-tailed (4).  This was an outstanding day, and we had a boat full of happy passengers. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Both Garibaldi pelagics full!

I am pleased to announce that both the Garibaldi pelagics to be run during the Oregon Birding Association meeting over the weekend of September 29 and 30 are full.  Please email Tim if you wish to join a waiting list for wither Saturday or Sunday. 

Friday, July 27, 2018

September 15 Departure Now 7:00

Please be aware that Newport Tradewinds has asked us to change our departure time for our September 15 8-hour Fall Seabirds trip from 6:30 to 7:00 am.  I will be sending out this information to all passengers and guides before the the trip. 

Friday, July 13, 2018

Garibaldi Trip Added!

The OBA pelagic on September 29 proved to be so popular that we are happy to announce a second trip the following day, Sunday the 30th.  Take advantage of a rare opportunity to do a pelagic out of Garibaldi and sign up!  This trip will only run if we can get enough people to go.  If interested,  please sign-up on the Reservations page. Note: The charter office requires a firm commitment a month before the trip, so we will know by the end of August if this trip is a go. 

Friday, June 8, 2018

DATE CHANGE -- Birding Festival Pelagic

The South Coast Birding Festival (a.k.a. the Shorebird Festival) pelagic trip will take place on Sunday, September 23rd.  This change is due to boat availability.  Oregon Pelagic Tours apologizes for any inconvenience, and hopes to see you in Charleston! 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

May 19 6 Hour Pelagic Trip Successful

29 passengers and three guides enjoyed very decent ocean conditions on our short pelagic last Saturday. Leaving Newport on board the Sea Venture, a new boat for us, we had low swells and light winds most of the day.  The flat ocean allowed us to quickly find one of our targets, MARBLED MURRELET, with good sightings had by the entire boat. Harbor porpoises occasionally allowed a view of their back and dorsal fin if you were looking in the right direction at the right moment. A lucky few saw a spout and the flukes of a distant gray whale. We traveled to the lighthouse, and scanned the huge flocks of COMMON MURRES, containing some PIGEON GUILLEMOTS and cormorants, then headed out toward Nelson Island, an undersea island.  A male WILSON'S WARBLER followed the boat for a while, and even landed on a passenger for a moment. Highlights were good views of RED-NECKED and some RED PHALAROPES, BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS, SOOTY and PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS, FORK-TAILED STORM-PETRELS, SABINE'S GULLS, RHINOCEROS AUKLET, and one each POMARINE and PARASITIC JAEGER.  David Mandell was able to pick out a GLAUCOUS GULL in the bay as we returned home.  An enjoyable day on the ocean, to be sure. 

Sunday, April 1, 2018

OPT Updates

Sign up has been steady for our May 19 pelagic , and there are only three spaces left on that trip. 

The OBA pelagic on September 29 is garnering a good amount of interest, and I am sure we will end up filling the boat.  If interested, you may wish to sign up and send payment sooner, rather than later. 

All other trips have plenty of spaces available. 

I am still waiting to hear about when and if the Shorebird Festival will take place in Charleston this fall, and OREGON PELAGIC TOURS hopes to continue providing a pelagic trip for this very enjoyable event. 

Friday, January 26, 2018

February Winter Pelagic

I am sorry to announce that the February Winter Pelagic scheduled for February 3/10 has not generated enough interest to go out.  Folks wishing to go out in winter should consider our Winter Pelagic scheduled for next December. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

OPT 2018: Adding Garibaldi to our list of ports

Oregon Pelagic Tours is proud to announce the addition of Tillamook County to the list of ocean waters we plan to visit in 2018.  We are happy to provide a pelagic trip for the Oregon Birding Association's annual meeting the weekend of September 29-30, 3018.  This trip, which will take place on Saturday the 29th, will depart from Garibaldi.  OBA members will receive a discounted registration fee, and will be given priority on this trip. The boat available to us is a little smaller than our Newport boats, so I encourage everyone interested to sign up soon.  And if you are not already already a member of the Oregon Birding Association, please consider joining and supporting this worthy organization.