North American Birds

VOLUME 69 NO3 2016

A Quarterly Journal of Ornithological Record Published by the American Birding Association. The mission of the journal is to provide a complete overview of the changing panorama of our continent’s birdlife.

Issue link: http://nab.aba.org/i/778845

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323 V O L U M E 6 9 ( 2 0 1 6 ) • N U M B E R S 3 / 4 P E L A G I C B I R D S F R O M C R U I S E S H I P S A LO N G T H E PA C I F I C C O A S T ters northwards to southern British Colum- bia; rare farther north. Widely thought to be most expected from October or November to April or early May (Roberson 2002, Wahl et al. 2005), spring cruises have detected good numbers during several trips through mid- May (Table 1). The single March sailing pro - duced a high of 21 birds between Monterey, CA and Grays Harbor, WA 20-21 Mar 2015. High counts later in spring included 7 be - tween Del Norte, CA and Pacific, WA 8 May 2009; 7 birds ca. 360-375 km off Vancouver Island 9 May and a record 23 (20 in British Columbia) between ca. 170 km west of the northern end Vancouver Island and 19 km off Coronation Island, AK, 10 May 2011; total of 7 off California 9 May 2013; 10 between San - ta Barbara and San Mateo 6 May 2015; and total of 17 birds between 85-280 km offshore 13-14 May 2015, of which 8 between Curry and Lincoln, OR 13 May (Figure 9) and 9 off central Vancouver Island to central Haida Gwaii 14 May. Rare during the summer and early fall, although there has been a recent increase in the rate of summer sightings off southern and central California, perhaps in - volving Mexican-breeding birds (see below). Between early June and late August, seven round-trip cruises farther north between San Francisco and southeastern Alaska produced a total of just 5 individuals (off Curry, OR 8 Jun 2013, 2 off Humboldt, CA 7 Aug 2013, off Del Norte, CA 29 Aug 2013, and off Sonoma, CA 31 Jul 2015). Rare in early fall, numbers increase off British Columbia and Washington perhaps beginning in mid-September (McDermond and Morgan 1993, Wahl et al. 2005), some - what later farther south. Some representative "arrivals" included off Lincoln, OR 22 Sep 2014 and 2 off Oregon 24 Sep 2013, and off Santa Cruz, CA 18 Sep 2007. Apparently uncommon to almost fairly common in No - vember or December (e.g., non-cruise highs of 59 and 45 individuals off northern Califor - Tillamook, OR 4 May 2016). However, mi- grants were regular some 100+ km "offshore" between Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii. Spring migrants were noted through early June, such as 5 off Clallam, WA 7 Jun 2013. Also common in late fall within 15 km of shore. Probably an uncommon southbound migrant well offshore (out to 70+ km) in fall, mid-October to mid-December; which is af - ter the fall cruise season has largely ended. Peak numbers of southbound migrants occur off northern California in November and off southern California in December (Briggs et al. 1987). The same authors noted most fall migrants within 50 km of shore off north - ern and central California, with the farthest 110 km off Monterey. Has been recorded as far as 375 km off southern California during November (P. Pyle, in litt.). Seen daily from 50-80 km off Washingto to California during all three cruises between early November and mid-December 2015, but never more than 10 birds per day. COMMON LOON (Gavia immer) Fairly common spring migrant within 15 km of shore. Uncommon migrant offshore to the shelf edge, some 55-75+ km out, rarely even slightly farther (e.g., 80 km off Mon - terey, CA 15 Apr 2013, 2 seen 75 km off Humboldt, CA 30 Apr 2014). A few migrants occur regularly some 100+ km "offshore" be - tween Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii. Slightly more unusual given the time of year were 2 birds in alternate plum - age 61 km off Dall Island, AK 9 Jul 2014. In fall, 1 was well off Lane, OR 17 Sep 2007. Peak southbound offshore movement in northern California is probably between late October and mid-November (Briggs et al. 1987), when cruise-ship sailings are rare. YELLOW-BILLED LOON (Gavia adamsii) One at sea just southwest of Sitka, AK 2 Jun 2013 was likely a late spring migrant, where - as 1 flying northward over northern Hecate Strait, BC 14 May 2014 was more typical. Fall birds do not arrive off Washington and points south typically until November or lat - er—after the conclusion of the regular cruise schedule. Albatrosses, Petrels, Storm-Petrels –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– LAYSAN ALBATROSS (Phoebastria immutabilis) Uncommon spring visitor over deeper wa - 2007 and a total of 4 were ca. 80 km off Clat- sop and Tillamook, OR 22 Sep 2014. Recorded from research vessels out to 240 km off Lin - coln, OR 25 Oct 2001 (7 birds; M. P. Force, in litt.). GREATER SCAUP (Aythya marila) Regular to 25 km offshore, rare to 60 km out. Seven birds were 64 km off Humboldt, CA 3 May 2013, 7 were 73 km off Lane, OR 29 Apr 2015, 8 were 94 km off Pacific, WA 26 Apr 2016, and much farther offshore a total of 11 were 218-230 km off Brooks Peninsula, Vancouver Island 14 May 2015, presumably heading toward Haida Gwaii or southeastern Alaska. The latest was 1 off Curry, OR 20 May 2011. Recorded during fall migration as far as 60 km offshore. SURF SCOTER (Melanitta perspicillata) A regular migrant within 20 km of shore, this species quickly becomes rarer farther out. Several singles and small flocks were seen in spring from cruise ships as far as 45 km off - shore. WHITE-WINGED SCOTER (Melanitta fusca) An uncommon migrant out to perhaps 15 km offshore from Washington northward. This species becomes much rarer farther offshore, except probably for birds transiting between Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii; other than in this vicinity, none have been reported from cruise ships beyond ca. 40 km offshore. RED-NECKED GREBE (Podiceps grisegena) Two were seen in the middle of Hecate Strait, BC 26 May 2014. EARED GREBE (Podiceps nigricollis) This species is found regularly in protected waters surrounding offshore islands in Cali - fornia. Small numbers are found somewhat regularly away from land off southern Cali - fornia out to ca. 30-40 km. A flock of 7 was ca. 70 km off Monterey, CA 19 Oct 2014. PACIFIC LOON (Gavia pacifica) Common to abundant spring migrant within 15 km of shore. Uncommon offshore to the shelf edge, some 55-75+ km out, rarely even farther (e.g., total of 7 seen 99-100 km off Table 1. Approximate number of Laysan Albatross seen from cruise ships by month, 2005-2016. This total is incom- plete, as some reports were not accompanied by sufficient date information. Observer coverage is heavily skewed to April and May, with a secondary peak during September. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– March 21 |||||| August 4 –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– April 23 |||||| September 5 –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– May 128 |||||| October 2 –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– June 1 |||||| November 16 –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– July 0 |||||| December 26 ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

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