Sunday, March 7, 2010

Laysan Albatross--Yes!

Oh Yea, that's what I am talking about! Today's pelagic trip out of Newport, OR was a big success making for another red letter day, but I am a bit ahead of myself. First, if you are a regular follower of this blog, you will notice a new element at the top. I have added a map of the US showing where I have been so far. Green lines mean I drove to those places, and blue lines mean I flew there. The numbers provide the sequence of my bird hunting. I will update this going forward. Now back to the birding.

Yesterday was much more of a mixed bag. I certainly scoured every rocky coastal area, and numerous jetties in vain to locate the elusive rock sandpiper. On one jetty I rock hopped to the point of near injury on the slick rocks not to mention the serious workout that resulted--my arm and torso muscles are sore today. I did see 27 birds for this new week, one of which was a new year bird--black scoter.

This morning dawned clear and probably reached the mid 50's on land, but with the wind on the ocean, it still felt pretty dang cold. 27 birders, 4 guides and 2 crew of the The Misty left dock at 7 AM, and headed out to sea. We were ticking off birds right from the get go on our way out of the harbor, but not a rock sandpiper among them on the rock jetties. We were actively finding birds well into the early afternoon. The 2 photos above are of a black-footed albatross flying (the dark bird in that photo), and sitting on the water. This will have to substitute for a picture of the laysan since I was unable to get a good shot of it. Taking pictures on a bouncing boat is not an easy task.

We saw about 10 of the black-footeds and 2 different laysan. We also saw ancient murrelets--about 20 in all. Cassin's auklets, marbled murrelets, black-legged kittiwakes, and thayer's gulls were new birds for the year. The laysan and the ancient are also life birds for me--thus making today more like a double red letter day.

Coming back in from Perpetua Bank was surprisingly birdless according to Greg Gillson, our main guide. He and a few birding friends run The Bird Guide which specializes in doing several pelagic trips each year out of Newport. Most of the trips are in the late summer, but they run this 1 winter trip to pick up the winter specialties of the area. Most of the birders on board were from Oregon and Washington. Unfortunately, one woman spent the entire trip throwing up even though it was not a rough sea. If I ever end up spending 11 hours on a boat feeling like she did, I would probably give up pelagic birding.

So the week list is now up to 47 birds, the YTD list is at 368 and the new lifers is now at 12. I am driving down to California tomorrow to catch my plane Monday AM back to Florida. Greater flamingo has been found there while I was out here, so maybe I can see one when I return to Florida. Stay tuned!


  1. Great new addition with the map ~ good work!

  2. Congrats. Life birds!

    On Morgan Creek:
    1) barred owls mating
    2) the first trout lilly flower, although most are still at the one leaf stage

  3. Fantastic graphic. At the rate you're going it will be a blur by November.

    Amazing albatross on the bluest ocean imaginable. cool.

  4. Love the map! And that is an awesome photo of the albatross, glad you had such a successful pelagic trip. I'll be joining you in about 10 days- woo hoo- Prairie chickens here I come.