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Spring 2014 Pelagic Trip

On May 11, 2014, 81 birders went to sea on WildResearch’s pelagic seabird fundraiser. Details from the trip and the official trip list follows below. Photos from the trip can be viewed here.

Birding was slow as we headed out on the open water, a few Sooty Shearwaters and single Pink-footed Shearwater darted about. Shearwater numbers slowly increased, and at 21 km from shore we spotted our first Tufted Puffin.  Two Black-footed Albatross appeared and were circling the ship with one adult LAYSAN ALBATROSS!

The Laysan Albatross came in close the boat 10-15 times and then drifted off, only to return about 10min later, giving everyone on board a great view. This was the bird of the trip! The Laysan Albatross is one of the species that makes it difficult to fall asleep the night before the pelagic trip, given how difficult it is to see in British Columbia. But there it was circling close to the ship for all to see.

At 40km from shore , a Parasitic Jaeger flew in front of the boat. This was a surprise because normally we see many Jaegers and Skua during our previous pelagic trips. The next exciting species was the Wandering Tattlers; we saw a small flock of three individuals. A flock of Wandering Tattlers on BC’s coast would be unusual. A flock of wandering tattlers offshore was real surprise! The second most exciting bird was a Manx Shearwater, seen from the stern of the ship. On the return trip back to Ucluelet, we spotted another five tufted puffins.

Overall, the trip was great. The weather was fantastic: dry, sunny, and the seas were relatively calm.

Many people are to thank for organizing the pelagic trip logistics. Big thanks to Ian Thomas and Jay Brogan for chumming in the albatross, Russell Cannings for spotting and calling out birds, and the Captain and Crew of the MV Francis Barkley, for keeping us safe and going the extra mile to help us spot great seabirds. Thanks also to everyone that participated in WildResearch’s Spring 2014 Pelagic Trip fundraiser. We look forward to seeing you all on our next pelagic trip!

And thanks again to all our participants! Looking forward to seeing you out on our next trip.

Birds seen well offshore:

  • Common Loon – 3
  • Pacific Loon – 200-300
  • Brant – 75
  • Black-footed Albatross – 10
  • Pink-footed Shearwater – 20-24
  • Sooty Shearwater – 280
  • Manx Shearwater – 1
  • Brandt’s Cormorant – 4
  • White-winged Scoter – 30
  • Surf Scoter – 6
  • Western Sandpiper – 50
  • Black Turnstone – 30
  • Wandering Tattles – 3
  • Red-necked Phalarope – 400
  • Parasitic Jaeger – 1
  • Sabine’s Gull – 55
  • Glaucous-winged Gull – 50+
  • California Gull – 12
  • Western Gull – 5
  • Bonaparte’s Gull -
  • Common Murre – 70
  • Marbled Murrelet – 6
  • Rhinoceros Auklet – 150
  • Tufted Puffin – 8
  • Cassin’s Auklet – 8
  • Duck species – 25
  • Goose species – 100

Birds seen in the harbor:

  • Bald Eagles – 6
  • Belted Kingfisher – 1
  • Northwestern Crow – 2
  • Steller’s Jay – 1
  • Mew Gull – 1
  • Glaucous-winged Gull
  • Marbled Murrelet – 6
  • Pigeon Guillemot – 8
  • Harlequin Duck – 10
  • Black Oystercatcher – 2
  • Pacific Loon – 10
  • Surf Scoter – 2

Posted: May 11, 2014