Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Bodega Bay Pelagic
It is Wednesday evening and I have recently returned from an all day pelagic trip out of Bodega Bay, CA. But I am a bit ahead of myself. Yesterday I spent the morning birding in the Solano Lake area in search of the elusive lawrence's goldfinch which continues to be just that. I did find again its cousin, the lesser goldfinch, along with some other nice birds including the yellow-billed magpie.
I stopped in St. Helena to try the pizza at Tra Vigne. I had eaten in the past at Tra Vigne's fine dining cantinetta and figured the pizzeria was going to be good also. It did not disappoint. I had a very delicious sausage and mushroom pizza with a an amber ale from the Tra Vigne brewery. I would definitely eat more of their pizza if I lived in St. Helena.
Today's pelagic trip began at 7 AM chilly, overcast and a bit misty at times. Fortunately the misty/foggy part dissipated fairly quickly but it stayed chilly all day, and the sun only partly shown for awhile midafternoon. As we were leaving the harbor a wandering tattler flew across the front of the bow which was a good omen for the day because this was a bird I missed earlier in the winter.
The second new bird for the year was a tufted puffin that circled the boat 3 or 4 times right at the 50 fathom water level where Debi Shearwater said they frequently find one. This was about 90 minutes after we left the harbor.
The rest of the day was full of birds including both laysan (top photo) and black-footed (bottom photo) albatrosses (remember to click on the photos to enlarge them). At one point we had between 50 and 60 black-footed on the water behind our boat which is why the laysan flew in to see what all the action was about. Throughout the day we had long-tailed jaegers coming into check us out also, along with the occasional pomarine and parasitic jaeger.
The other trifecta for the day was the double-crested, pelagic and brandt's comorants we saw coming out of the harbor. We also saw red and red-necked phalaropes; cassin's and rhino auklets, ashy storm-petrels; sabine's, california and western gulls; arctic and caspian terns; and pigeon guillemots. The highlight for the captain today was the sperm whales that were only the 2nd ones he had seen in 40 years of taking boats out from Bodega Bay. We also saw blue and humpback whales. One of the humpbacks breached several times, leaping almost completely out of the water twice.
Over the past 2 days 47 more new birds were seen for this week, and the puffin and tattler raise the YTD to 668. The travel map has been updated. Tomorrow I probably will not bird, so my next post will be after the pelagic trip out of Ft. Bragg on Friday. Hopefully we will find a west coast rarity. Stay tuned!