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Westport Seabird, WA
August 2011


I've always been interested in a pelagic trip since I began birding. I hesitated because of being prone to seasickness, but the opportunity to bird along side my fellow master birder classmates arose this summer, so this was the perfect opportunity.

Despite getting sick for a portion of the trip, I had a great time. We saw many seabirds. The most impressive to me were the albatrosses with their slender long wings to support their shear size. I also enjoyed watching the Northern Fulmars come in during the chumming. They were noisy and a bit feisty with each other. The Storm-petrels were also a delight to see - being so delicate. I'm glad we had great guides to point things out. As I had no experience trying to identify a flapping dot on the horizon. We did get good views of most of the birds though.

Not only were the birds exciting, but we also saw several Humpback Whales - seeing both the spray and the tail breaching the water. Also interesting were the Northern Fur Seals that would pose in the water with their front flippers hold their back flippers out of the water. This is called a jug handle pose for when they sleep or rest. We got a great view of a Mola-mola or sunfish as it was floating on its side near the surface of the water. They were weird looking creatures.

Overall the experience was great. I'm not sure I'll be going again anytime soon though. At least not until I figure out what meds to take so I won't get sick.

Subject: [Tweeters] Westport Pelagic Report - August 28, 2011
From: Ryan Shaw
Date: Sun, 28 Aug 2011 20:51:59 -0700
To: tweeters birding <tweeters@u.washington.edu>

Greetings all -

We had an excellent day today offshore of Westport. The weather was excellent. The seas were a bit choppy as we headed out and we battled through the morning mist. Eventually the swell subsided and flattened out almost completely - reminiscent of the seas two weeks ago when we did not encounter any rough seas at all. We had our first Sabine's Gulls as we left the harbor. Very close to shore. We encountered many more Sabine's throughout the day along with around 10 Arctic Terns, 15 South Polar Skua, 5 Long-tailed Jaegers, 10 Pomarine Jaegers, and 1 juv Parasitic Jaeger to complete the skua slam. We also encountered the hake fishing fleet about 32 miles offshore which had several thousand birds among 4-5 boats. 500 Black-footed Albatross, 800 Pink-footed Shearwaters and several thousand Northern Fulmar made up the majority of the birds here. We also had 1100 Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels and 1 Leach's Storm-Petrel. We had 5 Buller's Shearwaters and a few lucky people on the bow had looks at a fly-by Flesh-footed Shearwater. The highlight at the hake boats was 1 Laysan Albatross which hung out long enough for everyone to get a nice look. To wrap up the pelagic bird highlights was 1 Brown-headed Cowbird 30 miles offshore and 1 Pine Siskin 25 miles offshore which landed on the boat posing for some pictures!

The mammal show was quite excellent as well. 21 Steller's Sea-Lions and a Westport Seabirds record count of 59 Fur-Seals were seen! 4 Dall's Porpoise and 10 Humpback Whales were also seen.

As Bruce mentioned, we still have room on our October 1st and 15th trips.

Cheers and Good Birding,

For Westport Seabirds,

Ryan Shaw


Pictures (click on thumbnail)


Northern Fulmars squabbling over chum

Black-footed Albatross takes off

Bird List

Surf Scoter 6 not seen by me
Red-throated Loon 4
Pacific Loon 1
Common Loon 1 not seen by me
Laysan Albatross 1
Black-footed Albatross 590
Northern Fulmar 2,128
Pink-footed Shearwater 837
Flesh-footed Shearwater 1 not seen by me
Buller's Shearwater 5
Sooty Shearwater 1,505
Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel 1,154
Leach's Storm-Petrel 1
Brandt's Cormorant 8
Double-crested Cormorant 23
Pelagic Cormorant 91
Brown Pelican 1,610 harbor
Wandering Tattler 1 not seen by me, marina
Marbled Godwit 750 in marina
Red-necked Phalarope 15
Red Phalarope 37
Black-legged Kittiwake 1 jetty
Sabine's Gull 238
Bonaparte's Gull 6 not seen by me
Heermann's Gull 2,500
Western Gull
Western x Glaucous-winged Gull (hybrid) 270
California Gull 31
Glaucous-winged Gull
Arctic Tern 10
South Polar Skua 15
Pomarine Jaeger 10
Parasitic Jaeger 1 not seen by me
Long-tailed Jaeger 5
Common Murre 125
Pigeon Guillemot 5
Cassin's Auklet 10
Rhinoceros Auklet 22
Brown-headed Cowbird 1 not seen by me, flyby in open waters
Pine Siskin 1 landed on boat in open waters
Other critters:
Steller's Sea-Lion 21
Northern Fur Seal 59
Elephant Seal 1
Harbor Porpoise 4
Dall's Porpoise 4
Humpback Whale 10
Mola-Mola (sunfish) 2
Blue Shark 3



Westport Seabirds


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