California- Farallon Islands

After such a successful pelagic the day before I was calmer the following morning.

This trip departed from Sausalito so we got to ride underneath the Golden Gate Bridge.

It started foggy, but things cleared up once a breeze kicked in. It was much easier to appreciate colorful Tufted Puffins.

And see the Shearwaters.

Shearwater journeys

As we made way to the Farallon Islands (Farallón in Spanish means “pilar” or “sea cliff”).

The Farallon Islands are a National Wildlife Refuge, not open to the public, but only to a few lucky researchers. These ridiculous islands have logged 377 bird species on eBird. We boated up to “sugar loaf” the island named for the sweet piles of bird poo on top.

There are mostly Brandt’s Cormorants, Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemots, Western Gulls, and the best bird could have been a long-staying Northern Gannet that lives at sugar loaf but the gannet wasn’t home this day. What the Farallons lacked in gannet they made up for with whale.

We saw probably 20 Humpback Whales at least.

Feeding with gulls and sea lions working together to trap anchovies.

It was one of the most incredible things I’ve seen. Video here. It was hard to pull away, but we had more birds to look at along the continental shelf and Pioneer Sea Canyon.

We saw Northern Fulmar.

Black-footed Albatross.

Cassin’s Auklets.

And the “rarest” bird of the trip, a Fork-tailed Storm Petrel.

Not a life bird, I’ve seen one on Oregon pelagics, but it’s been a while and it’s a good bird for California in the summer. It was the best looks I’ve gotten to date.

We turned around then, and when we got back to the bay it was a bright and sunny ride under the bridge.

A pretty nice way to end pelagic #2. That and no one on the ship got sick. I spent a total of 19 hours at sea in two days, saw two life birds, AND SURVIVED. Incredible.

Tweets and chirps,

Audrey

Mom visit and incidental birding

Last week, my mom and her friend Carol flew in from Florida to visit me. While they were here, I had the pleasure of showing off some of Oregon’s natural wonders.

I took them to see waterfalls

Latourell Falls

And we saw a Pacific Wren!

I took them to the Tulip Festival in Woodburn

Tulip Festival

And saw owls.

Owls

To the coast!…

Cannon Beach

And saw Harlequin Duck, Common Murre, and Brandt’s Cormorant!

Harlequin Duck

Common Murre

Common Murre

Brandt's Cormorant

On a hike to Punchbowl Falls

Punchbowl Falls

We saw American Dippers! I’ve been looking forward to seeing these cool birds all year. I love the way they “bob” up and down on rocks by the river. Cornell says they are North America’s “only truly aquatic songbird.” Neat.

American Dipper

We also stopped at Camp 18 for a small bite to eat…

Camp 18

And were greeted by this hilarious cat:

"Chessy" the Cheshire Cat

As well as, Violet-green Swallows!

Violet-green Swallow

Finally, the Rhododendron Gardens…(azalea pictured). Did you know that all azaleas are Rhododendrons, but not all Rhododendrons are azaleas? I didn’t either.

Azalea

Among other birds at the garden, we saw a Double-crested Cormorant and Wood Ducks, or as my company called them, “Darth Vader Ducks.” Alrighty, then.

Double-crested Cormorant

Wood Duck (male)

Wood Duck (female)

Not bad for a week of incidental birding…four new species!

Tweets

Birding even when not birding.

Tweets and chirps,

Audrey