San Diego Offshore May 24, 2020
I did a solo trip offshore Sunday May 24th., in a reverse circle (counter clockwise) from the May 7th. trip. This one out of Mission Bay. Talk about social distancing, not a boat insight for about three of the nine hours I spent offshore.
The major change was lack of the Red Tide. The water now a dirty green color out to about 7 n. miles. Then clearing slowly to a clean green on the Thirty Mile Bank.
Sea surface temps, have dropped. Today mostly 66 degrees F. That maybe slightly above normal for May. Last trip sst's mostly 69-71 degrees (summer temps). Gale force winds north of us last week likely the cause.
Life offshore has increased slightly with a couple of small feeding congregations southwest of La Jolla ( 9..5- 10 n. miles) These made up of mostly Sooty and Black-vented Shearwaters, Brown Pelicans and Elegant Terns, and over a pods of Common Dolphin.
The Nine and Thirty Mile Banks, and San Diego Trough were exceedingly quiet. In fact I saw more Black Storm-Petrels inside the Nine Mile Bank all the way in to the edge of Point Loma kelp and up to within a mile on the Mission Bay Jetties.
The big numbers of Ashy Storm-Petrels we'd seen in 2017 and 2018 (one hundred plus), and 2019 (close to 50) seem to have faded to a very few scattered individuals so far this year. Three today, down from the 7 on seen May 7th.. All near the Thirty Mile Bank.
Not a single phalarope today. I had over three hundred on the May 7th. trip
No sign of Scripps's Murrelets, Perhaps they've abandoned nesting locally this year due to red tide, lack of food or ? They normally move out to the northwest post breeding. Perhaps they do the same if breeding fails.
No alcids or jaegers to report
One Least Tern was seen over the outside of the Nine Mile Bank, not that unusual a location except that there are very few other birds out there. Another Least Tern was along the middle part Point Loma kelp, and a dozen plus were in the s.w. portion on Mission Bay.
I did see Elegant Terns at all distance. Those well offshore traveling west at speed. Perhaps a food source out there somewhere? Those along the beach moving generally north. Many in Mission Bay (75).
An Adult Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was on the rip rap at Mission Point west of Quivara Basin, Mission Bay.
So total species and numbers for offshore (still rather small overall);
Pacific Loon 1
Pink-footed Shearwater 13
Sooty Shearwater 315
Black-vented Shearwater 140 ( a few showing start of wing flight feather molt )
Ashy Storm-Petrel 3
Black Storm-Petrel 60
Brown Booby 1
Brandt's Cormorant 5
Doubled-cr. Cormorant 1
Brown Pelican 57
Heermann's Gull 2
California Gull 3
Western Gull 30
Least Tern 2
Elegant Tern 290
Royal Tern 2
Today I remember Mac, Smitty, Jack and all the others others.
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports