Sunday, August 25, 2019

A private pelagic trip

I organized and led over 160 pelagic trips from Oregon in 20 years starting in 1994. Recently, I heard from a former regular passenger, Kit, that she was visiting her son in San Diego. Kit's son has a boat and she wanted me to plot out a course and help with bird ID. And she invited Marlene to come with me. Sounds like fun!

So it was I found myself aboard the vessel Reel Science on July 21.

Marlene and Kit
Marlene (left) and Kit (right) on the flying bridge.
We got a fairly late start, with some family and friends arriving later than others. By 9:00 am, though, we were underway and looking at birds on the bait docks. That included this Great Egret.

Great Egret

We escorted through the bay by a Bottlenose Dolphin.

Bottlenose Dolphin

As we were going out, the aircraft carrier Nimitz was coming in!

Aircraft carrier Nimitz

Just offshore, we passed the USS San Diego.

USS San Diego

Nearing the Nine Mile Bank we found a large pod of Common Dolphins. This one made quite an impressive leap!

Common Dolphin leaps from the water

Soon we spotted Black Storm-Petrels. This is one of my better shots of this bird that doesn't approach too near the boats.

Black Storm-Petrel

Another view.

Black Storm-Petrel

The dark under wing linings of this black-and-white murrelet confirm its identity as Craveri's Murrelet.

Craveri's Murrelet takes flight

There were many small patches of kelp paddies floating offshore. Nearly each one had an accompaniment of Red-necked Phalaropes, just back from nesting in the Arctic.

Red-necked Phalarope on kelp paddy

Closer to shore a Brandt's Cormorant flew near the boat.

Brandt's Cormorant

Brown Pelicans were also common near shore and in the bay.

Brown Pelican

Elegant Terns were our companions throughout the trip.

Elegant Tern
Marlene found a comfortable perch to enjoy her day at sea.
Point Loma
Passing out San Diego Bay in the morning always starts with a view of Point Loma
Sailboat silhouette
Sail boats in San Diego Bay
Sail boats in San Diego Bay
What a fun day. Thanks Kit!


  1. I just found out about your wonderful blogs. I searched for 'What kind of birds are in my backyard?' ( University City, next door to La Jolla) and after ooohing and aaahing over your great photos of birds, I started to wander around your blog site. Such wonderful photography, you do! May I ask, what camera did you use on your day trip on the boat out of SD harbor? The focus is so sharp and the images are striking. I'm blessed to live here in SD, and I must buy a better camera. I take tons of photos of the ocean sunsets and of clouds, but I need something special I think, to get great close up shots of small birds and animals. I'd love to know what you use? Thank you for your wonderful blog. I will click thru the various ads to help your numbers go up up up. I am looking to buy a bird watching vest that can fit my cameras, so the ads are good for me. Thank you. Lisa Pinsker, University City, SD.

    1. Thanks, Lisa!

      Did you visit my new blog:

      My camera is Canon EOS 7D. I have an older lens, the Canon EF 100-400 L IS. There is a newer version.


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