The first week and a half of my adventure was a blast but I was really, really looking forward to the next three days. Anytime you can go birding and have nearly every bird you see be a “Lifer” has to get your adrenalin going. I chose to go out with Shearwater Journeys whose operation has a wonderful reputation. Debbie Shearwater has been doing Pelagics for 30+ years and always has many experienced leaders on board to assist those, like me, who are unfamiliar with the West Coast pelagics.
I have been on a couple of Pelagics on the East coast of Florida so I had some preconceived notions as what to expect … boy was I wrong! Pelagics on the West coast are so, so much better than East coast trips. On East coast Pelagics you might go 30 minutes to a couple of hours and not see any birds and then all of a sudden run into a group of feeding birds and it’s all super exciting and then it may be another long while before you see anything else.
I soon realized there was a tremenous difference between the two and that on West Coast pelagics you have birds around almost constantly and better yet it was not just Gulls. Within the first half hour I had seen 3-4 Lifers and it was hard to even keep up with all the great birds being seen!
One thing that I loved about these trips was that the crew was cognizant of the fact that many birders also like to take pictures and they slowed down or stopped when any new bird was seen for the day.
The weather the first day was OK. We had fog off and on and while the sun did pop through occasionally the seas were only moderately rough so I was able to get a few usable/identifiable pictures.
(Clicking on any picture makes it larger and clearer)
The entire first days trip went by in a blur. Like I said there was rarely a quiet moment and I took an incredible number of pictures. Like most Pelagics the pitch and roll of the boat along with trying to shoot fast-moving targets made the keeper rate a little on the low side but I have enough OK shots for a couple more days. Beside the many bird species we saw a number of whales and dolphins that I will share those too!!