Thursday, January 19, 2012

"Winter" pelagic trip: March 10, 2012

Winter seas off Oregon are frequently too rough for pelagic trips. Fortunately, though, winter birds continue into spring.

So, such winter specialties such as LAYSAN ALBATROSSES, SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATERS, and ANCIENT MURRELETS are regular in March, when seas average a bit calmer.

March is also the peak of abundance of BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES and RHINOCEROS AUKLETS.

Several rare species have also been found in March, including SHORT-TAILED ALBATROSSES, FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATERS, MANX SHEARWATERS, and HORNED PUFFINS.

So, our first trip of the year is a "winter" trip on Saturday, March 10, 2012.

Since 2001, we've scheduled 11 trips in March. Of those, two trips weathered-out, and one trip was shortened due to rough seas. That's a success rate of about 77%, which isn't that different from our September and October success rates.

Here are the frequencies and high numbers for the target species in March:

SpeciesFrequencyHigh number
Short-tailed Albatross22%1
Laysan Albatross78%8
Short-tailed Shearwater78%10
Flesh-footed Shearwater33%1
Manx Shearwater22%2
Black-legged Kittiwake100%225
Ancient Murrelet67%33
Rhinoceros Auklet100%500
Horned Puffin22%7

April has more birds overall, as migration starts up. But SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER is significantly less likely in April as compared to March. Nevertheless, you may want to consider our April 7, 2012 trip as having a good chance for several of the winter specialties, too. Visit The Bird Guide, Inc.'s web page to sign up for this pelagic trip.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

ABA Pelagic Directory 2012

For many years the January/February issue of Winging It, the newsletter of the American Birding Association, was entirely dedicated to listing North American pelagic trips and schedules. In recent years they moved the pelagic directory to the ABA web site.

I received news recently that the ABA will not produce a pelagic directory in 2012. They may bring it back in 2013. So, what to do?

Well, I invite all pelagic trip providers, bird clubs, or individuals, to list their trips and contact info in the comments section below.

In addition, here are the web sites for major NA providers:

The Bird Guide Oregon--that's us!
Westport Seabirds Washington State
Shearwater Journeys Monterey and California
Monterey Seabirds Monterey Southern California and Baja
Seabirding North Carolina with Brian Patteson
See Life Paulagics New York, New Jersey, Delaware

What pelagic trips will you attend this year?

Our 2012 pelagic trip schedule is posted and ready for signup!

Use the seabird abundance bar chart to determine when your target birds are most likely, then choose from these pelagic trips from Oregon:

March 10, 8 hours from Newport
April 7, 8 hours from Newport
May 5, 10 hours from Newport
July 21, 8 hours from Newport
August 11, 12 hours from Newport
August 25, 5 hours from Charleston
September 15, 8 hours from Newport
October 6, 10 hours from Newport
October 20, 8 hours from Newport

Visit our web site for more details and sign up for our pelagic trips.