Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bodega Bay Pelagic--September Trip

Yesterday Wes Fritz and I got together mid morning to do some landbirding. We were looking for something special like a ruff or sharp-tailed sandpiper but the best we could do was 2 pacific golden plovers and 4 pectoral sandpipers. The top photo is of a long-billed curlew that I took on Monday down in Monterey--remember to click on it to enlarge. The real excitement for the day was when I took a bite of my lunch sandwich and was stung on the bottom of my tongue by a yellowjacket. Needless to say it put a damper on the rest of the day which limited the amount of birding I did after lunch.

This morning we left the Bodega Bay harbor a little after 7 with some concerns about the seas since the weather report said there were wind gusts up to 20 knots. Our ride out to the deeper water was a bit rough, but nothing horrible. On the way out we had some fog, but nothing as thick and closed in as we had last Friday and Saturday down in Monterey. We saw once again the same group of seabirds with the best looks so far of fork-tailed storm-petrels this past week.

The chumming brought in gulls, jaegers and skuas, shearwaters, storm-petrels, plus fulmars and black-footed albatross (bottom photo above). Just as we reached the really deep water (7000 ft) the bird of the day flew by our boat--a cook's petrel. It was first called out as another buller's shearwater, but immediately the spotters realized that it was the similar looking but smaller cook's. I saw the bird and thought before they changed the call that it did not look like all the buller's we had been seeing today. And since I had missed seeing a cook's back on July 31st on the boat out of Santa Barbara, I was thrilled to have seen and known that this bird was a cook's.

It is very late, so I am going to wrap up this post by saying that 12 more birds were seen for the week over the past 2 days. The cook's petrel is a life bird and raises the YTD up to 681. Tomorrow I will be out looking for a ruff in the AM, and then will be heading over to Yosemite NP in search of great gray owls. Stay tuned!

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