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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324 N O R T H A M E R I C A N B I R D S 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 and Grays Harbor, WA 20-21 Mar 2015. High counts later in spring through midsummer by date were: 225 between Santa Barbara and Monterey, CA 15 Apr 2013, 245 off California and Oregon 21-22 Apr 2011, 178 between Santa Barbara and San Francisco, CA 29 April 2014, 120 between San Luis Obispo and San Francisco, CA 6 May 2015, 175 off Oregon (including 150 at a single fleet of trawlers off Curry) 21 May 2015, and 52 between Lincoln, OR and Humboldt, CA 8 Jun 2013. Numbers begin to rise again in some years in mid-/late July or early August: e.g., 70 off northern and central British Columbia 16 Jul 2013, 150 off northern Washington 19 Jul 2015, 325 off southern Haida Gwaii and northern Vancouver Island 5 Aug 2013, and 195 off the British Columbia coast 7 Aug 2015. Peak numbers may be reached off Brit - ish Columbia and Washington between Au- gust and November (Wahl 1975, Wahl et al. 2005, Kenyon et al. 2009), although the tim - ing may vary with proximity to the shelf and latitude. (Very large non-cruise concentra - tions have been noted behind trawlers, e.g., ca. 45,000 at Heceta Bank, OR 22 Oct 2005 [Pyle 2006].) Cruise highs by month in fall included a total of 343 between Clatsop and Lane (with 242 off Lincoln), OR 26 Sep 2011 and 2000+ between Lincoln and Curry, OR 28 Sep 2015, total of 580 between Lane, OR and Santa Barbara, CA 25-26 Oct 2012, and 350 off Tillamook to Curry, OR 10 Nov 2015. Peak numbers occur off California typically between November and January, with an oc - casional secondary peak in March (Briggs et al. 1987), months during which cruise-ship sailings are rare. MURPHY'S PETREL (Pterodroma ultima) Uncommon to sometimes fairly common spring visitor well off California and Oregon, between late March and mid-May, with small - er numbers to early June (Table 2). Since be- ing detected from a cruise ship first in May 2008, this species has been recorded on the vast majority of spring trips, particularly those sailing in moderate to strong winds. Loose flocks of up to 6 individuals were seen on several occasions. The greatest numbers were normally encountered in California and Oregon waters, with Murphy's Petrels becom - ing less numerous off much of Washington and southern British Columbia, where the majority of records are from far off the coast, even beyond the EEZ (Bailey et al. 1989, Ken - yon et al. 2009). However, deep-water cover- age from cruise ships in these latter areas has the same trawler fleet ca. 37 km off south - ern Curry); 130 off northwestern California 20 May 2016, and 170 off central California 8 May 2013. Several individuals have been observed in inner waters as close to shore as at the mouth of Chatham Strait, AK and in southeastern Hecate Strait, BC. In fall and early winter, this species is typi- cally uncommon, only occasionally numer- ous; e.g., 200+ off southern Haida Gwaii to central Vancouver Island 4 Sep 2013; 250+ off northern Vancouver Island to southern Haida Gwaii 6 Sep 2015; 177 between Clat - sop and Lane (with 146 off Lincoln), OR 26 Sep 2011; and a total of 225 between Lincoln and Curry, OR 10 Nov 2015. Larger con - centrations have been noted behind trawl- ers at this season by non-cruises, e.g., 3000 observed at Heceta Bank, OR 22 Oct 2005 (Pyle 2006). SHORT-TAILED ALBATROSS (Phoebastria albatrus) Casual visitor. Almost all individuals ob - served south of British Columbia have been in their first or second plumage cycles. This species has been recorded fewer times from cruise-ships south of the Gulf of Alaska than "expected." Perhaps this is partly the result of fast cruise ships maintaining their distance from fishing trawlers, preventing adequate inspection of many of the large aggregations of Black-footed Albatrosses off British Co - lumbia, Washington, Oregon, and northern California (see above). Single Short-taileds were 84 km off Año Nuevo Point, San Ma - teo, CA 21 Apr 2011; 71 km off Winchester Bay, Douglas or Cape Arago, Coos (43.71° N, 125.10° W) 13 May 2012; 90 km off Cape Lookout, Tillamook, OR 13 May 2012 (adult); and ca. 24 km south-southwest of Beresford Island, BC (50.583° N, 128.859° W) 7 Jun 2016 (adult). In fall, the cruise sightings were 36 km west-southwest of Cape Blanco, Curry, OR (42.76° N, 124.99° W) 2 Oct 2012 and 65 km off Coos, OR 21 Sep 2015. NORTHERN FULMAR (Fulmarus glacialis) Irregular visitor and summering non-breeder, sometimes rare, other years common. Most birds are found seaward of mid-shelf (Briggs et al. 1987). The majority (75-90 percent) are dark morphs, with the remaining individuals approximately equally divided between inter - mediate and light morphs (Wahl 1975, Wahl et al. 2005, pers. obs.). During March, 455 in total were tallied between Monterey, CA nia on 14 Dec 1988 and 8 Dec 1991, respec- tively [Hamilton et al. 2007]); three cruises off central Washington to central California between early November and mid-December 2015 found a total of 42, with single-day highs of 15 between Lincoln and Curry, OR 10 Nov, 7 between Monterey and Mendocino, CA 1 Dec, and 10 between Clatsop and Doug - las, OR 16 Dec. There has been much recent speculation on whether the majority of birds seen off Cali - fornia and even farther north originate from Hawaiian or the recent and growing Mexican breeding populations. Banded and radio- tagged birds from Guadalupe Island, Mex - ico have been observed or tracked (http:// seabirdtracking.org/mapper/index.php) on multiple occasions to off northern California, a few times to off Oregon, Washington, and southern British Columbia, and even north to near the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, where Hawaii-breeding Laysans are numerous. One Laysan observed from a cruise ship 64 km southwest of Gualala, Mendocino 1 Dec 2015 had been banded at Midway Island, Hawaii. BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS (Phoebastria nigripes) Uncommon to common visitor. This is one of the dominant species in deeper waters well offshore, particularly near the shelf edge and over the continental slope (Briggs et al. 1987). It occurs in greatest numbers far off - shore near the outer edge of the California Current during winter and spring (P. Pyle, in litt.), but between spring and summer (May– July) occurs closer inshore in California, with a general northward seasonal withdrawal during this period (Ainley 1976, Briggs et al. 1987). Peak numbers off Washington are between late April and October in waters over 140 m depth (Wahl 1975, Wahl et al. 2005). Those off British Columbia are be - tween May and September/October (Kenyon et al. 2009). Black-footed Albatross was most numerous between northern California and southern British Columbia, especially in con - centrations behind fishing trawlers near the shelf edge, where 100-300 could be counted (and see below). High counts by state/prov - ince included: 32 off southeastern Alaska 18 May 2014; 600 off northern Vancouver Island 5 Aug 2013 and 250 off central and south - ern Vancouver Island 19 May 2015; 400 off Washington 10 May 2013 and 300 there 8 May 2015; 850 off Oregon 21 May 2015 (750 of which at a single fleet of trawlers ca. 64 km off southern Curry) and a very high 2500 off Oregon 20 May 2016 (2000 of which at

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