Cold weather and rough swells made for some tough sea birding today. This was the first pelagic trip that I’ve ever felt queasy on.
The good news was that there were real good numbers of birds and “all the boys were down on the farm”. Bill V. was able to join us having dropped his son Hunter off earlier in the week to begin his freshmen year at Cal Poly. Steve Howell was one of the leaders. His new book on Seabirds of North America should be out by Christmas. Chris “The Hitman” Hitt was there and will also be on Friday’s Half Moon Bay trip. Doug Koch, who made the all night ride with Ken Petersen and me from North Carolina to Coney Island for the Gray-headed Gull, was on board as well. Doug is apparently on ten of Debi’s trips over the next two weeks! Also on board was Matt Steneger from Ohio. As many of you know Matt is also doing a Big Year. He added three year-birds today. Randy Pinkston, whom I met in Texas and found the Masked Duck and Yellow-green Vireo was on the boat trip as well.
The birds showed up as well. We had four storm-petrel species today – Fork-tailed, Ashy, Wilson’s and Black. Two Laysan Albatrosses were behind the boat at the same time. The colonization of the Guadalupe Islands in Mexico is certainly behind this influx of Laysans. For me the bird of the day was Flesh-footed Shearwater! Only the second one that I’ve seen in my life and a new year-bird – number 712!
Tomorrow Doug, Randy and I will bird our way south to Half Moon Bay. Got to love it! Birding on my “day off”. Am I living the dream or what? Thanks, Linda!