Hey there. As my pelagic fall season comes nearer (click here for schedule), I thought it would be fun to make a prediction. This is going to be a Manx Shearwater rich year in California. If by some miraculous reason I am correct, it is not magic, its just that I have a direct feed to what is going on right now in Chile. This has been a spectacular season (summer – fall down there) for Manx Shearwaters. Backing up a bit, Manx Shearwaters are birds of the Atlantic, they should not be on the Pacific, but they are being seen on the Left Coast with frequency for some years now. By this point they could be breeding up in Alaska or British Columbia, which would not be surprising as this species has been spreading in the Atlantic too.
Manx Shearwaters are being seen practically on every pelagic out of Valparaiso in Central Chile right now. This started in February and is continuing to mid April! There was a spurt of sightings in 2008, but this is more than have ever been seen down there. Max Manx was of five in February, we saw three on our Birds and Wine tour (coming in 2013 again!), a poor photo of one of them is to the left. The expectation is that those birds off Chile right now will be moving north as we speak and they should show up in California in the spring and then again in the late summer and fall. It will be cool to see if they do come up here in numbers or not. There are not that many pelagics in Chile, so the fact they are being detected so regularly means there have to be a bunch of Manxies around. We shall see what we find this season – join me on a pelagic out of Half Moon Bay or Monterey to see what is out there!