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32 COOK'S PETRELS and 2 Craveri's in San Diego & L. A. County waters; possible future chase trip?

Today, Saturday the 27th, Dave Povey, Nancy Christensen, and I went offshore, the main purpose being to visit the waters in the extreme southwest corner of the county, about 25-29 nautical miles from the tip of Point Loma and immediately bordering both Los Angeles County and Mexican waters. The waters offshore between the mainland and the inside edge of the 30-Mile Bank are currently amazingly dead, with very, very small numbers and an incredibly low diversity of birds. Once up on the 30-Mile Bank, just north of the international border, we starting finding a number of small- to medium-sized rafts of Black Storm-Petrels, Then, in the deeper water (2200-2400 feet; 67.7 F) beyond the shallowest section of the bank–right near where the international boundary makes an obvious 90-degree jog to the south, we starting seeing COOK'S PETRELS, many feeding with storm-petrels or just sitting in small groups on the water. We totaled at least 24 Cook's in San Diego County waters and at least 16 in L. A. County and 5 in Baja waters, with a bit of duplication as birds moved across the boundaries (as calculated by us!). Despite our working cameras only including a single super-zoom and a couple cell-phones, reasonable photos were obtained. We also had a pair of CRAVERI'S MURRELETS, an unseasonal Sabine's Gull, a one-year-old Common Tern, and 4 well-offshore Least Terns, all just inside L. A. County waters. There are only several previous sightings of Cook's Petrels inside San Diego County waters, and these involved just single birds.

Before I list the day's totals, if there is enough interest in chartering a fishing/whalewatching boat for a "chase-trip" at some point sooner rather than later (the next regularly scheduled San Diego pelagic trip is not until mid-August), then Dave Povey is willing to inquire of the local boat landings to see if any boat is available. The cost would depend on what the charter costs divided by the number of people going. Let Dave know if you are potentially interested and whether any day of the week will work for you or if only weekends are do-able. Conditions can change rapidly offshore, so there is certainly no guarantee of success! This is now the beginning of the very busy fishing season, and whale sightings have just recently increased, so this all may be a moot point–but it's worth a try if there is enough interest out there. Dave's e-mail address is <poveydw747@…>

Today's list:

Cook's Petrel: 32+

Pink-footed Shearwater: 6

Sooty Shearwater: 20

Black-vented Shearwater: 4

Ashy Storm-Petrel: 18

Black Storm-Petrel: ca. 700

Craveri's Murrelet: 2

Cassin's Auklet: 4

Sabine's Gull: 1

Heermann's Gull: 1

Western Gull: 8

Least Tern: 6

Common Tern: 1

Elegant Tern: 80

Brown Pelican: 25

–Paul Lehman, San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports