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DESCRIPTIONS OF THE TRIPS ARE HERE.
- May 4, 2013 -Magic of spring seabird migration. Also a great time for a Murphy’s Petrel! Out of Half Moon Bay.
- July 21, 2013 - Pioneer Canyon. Prime time for Cook’s Petrel. Out of Half Moon Bay.
- Aug 18, 2013 – Offshore Seabirds of San Francisco. County Birding and last year a Hawaiian Petrel showed up! Out of Half Moon Bay.
- Aug 31, 2013 - Cordell Bank – NEW!!!!! California’s famed underwater mountain, many a great albatross has been here. Out of Bodega Bay.
- Sept 1, 2013 – Offshore Seabirds of San Mateo. Heading southwest out of Half Moon Bay, where it was HOT in 2012. Out of Half Moon Bay.
- Sept 7, 2013 – Classic Half Moon Bay Pelagic. We go where the action has been, chase the temperature breaks, and food rich areas. Out of Half Moon Bay.
- Sept 14, 2013 – Classic Half Moon Bay Pelagic. We go where the action has been, chase the temperature breaks, and food rich areas. Coming from a distance, combine with Sept 15 trip for two in a row! Out of Half Moon Bay.
- Sept 15, 2013 – Monterey Bay. Seabird diversity galore. Coming from a distance? Combine with Sept 14 trip for two in a row! Out of Monterey Bay.
NO Fuel surcharges. No surprises at the dock. However, we reserve the right to shift pricing according to economics of fuel costs. So, reserve or pay with Credit Card today to secure current price! We try to keep prices as economical as possible, and the quality as high as possible.
- Price – $130 (Half Moon Bay and Monterey Bay), $140 Bodega Bay Trip.
- The best pelagic value out of Half Moon Bay and to the Cordell Bank!
- Approximately an 8-10 hour trip.
- Leaving from Pillar Point Harbor – Half Moon Bay, Monterey Bay and now NEW Bodega Bay departure!
- Superb leadership – fun, informative, attentive! These folks range from great educators to some of the top birders in Northern California, some are even both. The gang includes Dan Singer, Matthew Dodder, Peter Metropulos, Lisa Myers, Todd Easterla, John Sterling, Chris Benesh of Field Guides Inc. (Sept 7 trip), Alex Rinkert and more.
- Your enjoyment of the trip matters to us – come birding with us. Our aim is to have a great time out there, see some of the best seabirding in the world, and maybe even get you a lifer or two.
- Hawaiian Petrel, Short-tailed Albatross, White-chinned Petrel and MANY Laysan Albatrosses have shown up with the more common species in the last few years.
- Whales and marine mammals are part of the show, good whale trips are great birding trips; both are where the food is.
- Out of state birders – you are welcome. The locals love our trips, ask us for hotel and motel recommendations in the HMB area. **** think about doing the Sept 14 and 15 trips back to back, to increase your chances of a well rounded haul of California seabirds!!
- Coffee and some morning snacks provided.
- e-bird friendly! We will share the final e-bird list with you.
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Pelagic birding is amongst the most exciting birding you can do, one never knows what is that next bird that will fly by the boat, or land behind the stern! It could be a lifer, it could be something that is just great looking, it could be an absolute rarity, hey it could even be a whale! Offshore birding can be frustrating too, the boat moves, it can be cold, and the day is long. So we strive to make it as enjoyable as possible. We try to make sure you get good information and keep pointing out even the common species until you have seen them and know what they are. Logistics on a boat can make it tough, but we will try hard to make sure you are satisfied. We can’t promise rare birds but we will sure make an attempt to find them, and the regular cast of characters out there is more than enough to keep a birder happy! Half Moon Bay had been forgotten as a birding port until Alvaro and gang went out in 2009. On those trips we found Laysan Albatrosses (we know now that it is a rather regular rare bird out of Half Moon Bay) as well as a gorgeous and satellite tagged Short-tailed Albatross (endangered species from Japan), and California’s first and North America’s second White-chinned Petrel! The latter was specially fun as it is a bird Alvaro sees in the hundreds on yearly trips to Chile, it was like seeing an old friend but out of context.
The Birds – These are amongst the richest ocean waters anywhere on the planet, and that is not overstating it. The pelagic birds we may see include local breeders, Antarctic breeders, Arctic breeders, New Zealand or Chilean breeders, even Hawaiian species can show up. It is an incredible diversity of seabirds that venture to California in summer and fall to feast on the food in these waters. Half Moon Bay is a great place to see common species like Common Murre, Rhinoceros Auklet, Sooty Shearwater, Pink-footed Shearwater, and Cassin’s Auklet to name a few. At the continental shelf break we have had great luck seeing many Black-footed Albatross, and sometimes even the smaller and rarer (in California) Laysan Albatross. August is a good time for Arctic migrants such as Red-necked Phalarope, Arctic Tern, all three jaegers including the possibility for good numbers of Long-tailed Jaegers, as well as the awesome Sabine’s Gull. Slightly later in the season the
storm petrel flocks may gather and if we can find them, then Ashy Storm-Petrel will be the most common, with Black Storm-Petrel next. There could also be a smattering of less common species including the Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel, Wilson’s Storm-Petrel and Least in warm water years, even Leach’s although it tends to stay far offshore. Shearwater diversity increases in September into early October, then the two common species may be joined by Buller’s, Black-vented (warmer water years), Flesh-footed (rarer), and Short-tailed (late in season). The Manx Shearwater has been seen on many occasions in San Mateo County and could show up on a boat trip. Of course anything is possible, as we have proved in the past. Cook’s Petrels have shown up in July – August in county waters and due to conservation efforts in their native New Zealand we may have greater numbers and therefore greater chances in years to come.
Mammals and other creatures - In fall the most common whale in these waters is the Humpback, however the Blue Whale has been present in the last few years and it shows up when the krill populations are good. Harbor Porpoise and even Bottlenose Dolphin are possible close to the coast, while offshore the Pacific White-sided, Northern Right Whale dolphins are found along with the Dall’s Porpoise and Risso’s Dolphin. California Sea Lions are out there, and sometimes the fine featured Northern Fur Seal as well. Blue Sharks might be seen, as well as the amazing “Mola mola” or Ocean Sunfish among others.
San Mateo and San Francisco Waters and now Monterey!!- Since many locals are very keen on the county in which they see their birds, we want to keep the county birders happy. So we have dedicated trips that stay largely or entirely in waters of either San Mateo or San Francisco waters. If you don’t care about counties, either one of these trips will work for you. Both have great birds and great opportunities for unusual things as well as the common birds. As of 2012 we added a Monterey departure – and we are expecting to do more of these in the future!
Boats and logistics – The boats we use are Coast Guard Certified with all of the necessary safety equipment to carry birders into the deep water. They have a large cabin area that we use mainly to store gear, although you can stay in here to warm up, nap, or catch up with friends out of the wind. The real action is outside where several guides will be out there helping to spot and point out birds for all to see. Before each trip we review safety on board the boat, as well as birding techniques and protocol to make the best of your day out. Our routes will vary depending on the trip, but we motor out to the edge of the continental shelf where the underwater topography drops off steeply and where we arrive at real deep water. Our strategy then will depend on the day and conditions, we may choose to go farther out into deeper water and if time permits even visit offshore canyons and seamounts, or we may look for storm petrel flocks, water temperature breaks or simply ride along the shelf to see what is out there. If commercial boats are fishing and attracting birds, we will snoop around to see what is following them. Whales are good to find, as they are of course amazing to look at, but also are where the bird food is! Many a good bird has been found while looking at whales.