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California pelagics - best time? (1 Viewer)

James

I'm losing it!
Next holiday finally decided and it will be based from San Francisco and travelling. Thinking of next October. When is the best time for a pelagic and which is the best one? Would like most variety but would love to see our first albatross if possible. Any info gratefully received.

James

:t:
 

Mark Harper

World Birder
In September this year I went on two pelagics with Debi Shearwater, the first on 15/9 out of Bodega and the second on 24/9 out of Monterey. Species wise the two trips were very similar, with the Bodega Trip recording Cook's Petrel, Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel and South Polar Skua that were not seen on the Monterey trip and Ancient Murrelet and Least Storm-Petrel seen from Monterey but not Bodega.

Both trips recorded Black-footed Albatross, Pink-footed, Buller's and Sooty Shearwaters, Black, Ashy and Wilson's Storm-Petrel, Pomarine, Arctic and Long-tailed Skuas, Common and Pigeon Guillemots, Rhinocerous and Cassin's Auklets and Tufted Puffins.

Personally I preferred the Bodega pelagic as despite being full the boat was not quite as crowded, the number of most species seen was greater (150+ Long-tailed Skuas) and a better selection of Whales (Grey, Blue, Humpback and Killer v Humpack only at Monterey). The Bodega pelagic is more prone to cancellation though, so if you only have the time for one then the safer bet is Monterey, but if you can do more than one then do.
 

Mark Harper

World Birder
A couple of shots to further whet the appetite.

I do not know how much further afield you are planning on travelling, but if you need any tips on where to look for target birds PM me. We spent two weeks around the north picking up targets such as Harlequin, Marbled Murrelet, California Condor, Great Grey Owl, Sooty Grouse, Greater Sage Grouse, Black-backed Woodpecker, Grey Jay, Varied Thrush, Evening Grosbeak, etc.
 

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Jos Stratford

Beast from the East
PS. very important you check dates of pelagics before planning your trip - the pelagic season ends in October I think and Debi Shearwater, etc, I think do not run a full month of actvities.
 
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James

I'm losing it!
Thanks Jos - dates still flexible but will be built round the pelagics.
Awesome trip report, if our trip was half as good I would be delighted.

James
 

Jos Stratford

Beast from the East
Thanks Jos - dates still flexible but will be built round the pelagics.

Good move - you will not be disappointed. Off California, even a 'bad' pelagic is an excellent pelagic, you may well get lucky with Orcas, that would really make me green (they were seen just before or after one of my pelagics)
 

James

I'm losing it!
Allow me to make you green then Jos. We did a pelagic when we were over in Washington which spanned the border with Canada. We saw three whole pods of Orca's including young that circled our boat for hours. Some great pictures and a truly unforgettable sight.

James
 

Jos Stratford

Beast from the East
Allow me to make you green then Jos. We did a pelagic when we were over in Washington which spanned the border with Canada. We saw three whole pods of Orca's including young that circled our boat for hours. Some great pictures and a truly unforgettable sight.

James

Boo hoo hoo, I really should not have mentioned them Orcas, I expected maybe a gripping follow-up post in some distant hazy point of the future, not an immediate full assault of young round the boat for hours and unforgettable sights ;)
 

Jim M.

Choose Civility
James,

Here's a link to the 2009 ABA listing of pelagic birding trips in the ABA area (California listings begin at #26).

http://www.aba.org/wingingit/v21n1p16.pdf

You need a password which I don't have at the moment to get the current listings, but these should give you a very good idea of what's available and what can be seen, together with clickable links to the websites of the major providers (which will have current info and usually lists of what's been seen on past trips).

Here also is a link to the California eBird bar chart. I don't know how good CA birders have been about inputting their pelagic sightings, but in such a heavily birded state I'd expect pretty good coverage. Just click on a species name to see where sighted, and click on the individual balloons for more info.

http://ebird.org/ebird/GuideMe?repo...=states&continue.x=29&continue.y=9&continue=t

Hope this helps,
Jim
 

Birdbox

staringin2thevoid
I can't find Debbie Shearwater's schedule anywhere for this autumn. Does anyone know what date in September she's sailing out of Bodega to Cordell Bank?
 

wings

Well-known member
It s www.shearwaterjourneys.com. Mark has got it right: Monterey and Bodega are your two best places for pelagic tours. For the past two years now a Laysan Albatross has been appearing at the waterfront of the Mendocino County town of Point Arena. Check it out on Google ( I hope it's there)
 

Mark Harper

World Birder
I can't find Debbie Shearwater's schedule anywhere for this autumn. Does anyone know what date in September she's sailing out of Bodega to Cordell Bank?

From memory it was fairly well into 2010 (May?) that the schedule for the 2010 autumn pelagics appeared on Debbie's website.

Unfortunately the Laysan Albatross that Wings refers to, does not show up until Nov/Dec each year, although you can get lucky and see one on a pelagic in September.
 

Birdbox

staringin2thevoid
Thanks for your info so far.

Turns out however that neither I nor my partner can excuse ourselves from work this autumn (this far in advance already!).

So that begs the question;

Are pelagics in Monterey bay worthwhile in June? Debra's doing one as are one or two others.
 

James

I'm losing it!
Booked a slot on a pelagic with Monterey seabirds for sept 10th.

Can hardly wait!

James
 

StuartReeves

Local rarity
Thanks for your info so far.

Turns out however that neither I nor my partner can excuse ourselves from work this autumn (this far in advance already!).

So that begs the question;

Are pelagics in Monterey bay worthwhile in June? Debra's doing one as are one or two others.

This page gives a month by month summary which might help.
 

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