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:

Contents of this Issue


Page 18 of 211

329 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 Manx were seen as these ships approached or departed the Strait of Juan de Fuca off northwestern Washington and southwest - ern British Columbia. Singles were reported west-northwest of Point Reyes, Marin, CA 7 May 2009; off Curry, OR and Pacific, WA 8 May 2009; off Lane, OR 12 May 2010; 83 km west of Lane, OR 12 May 2010; and 63 km off northern Coos (43.70° N, 124.99° W) and ca. 37 km off southern Curry, OR 20 May 2016. Farther north, single Manx were 39 km south of Sartine Island, BC (50.45° N, 128.98° W) 17 Sep 2011 and 34 km southwest of Nootka Island, central Vancouver Island (49.42° N, 127.19° W) 6 Jun 2013, and 3 individuals were seen flying northward between 61 km east and 79 km southeast of the southern tip Haida Gwaii (51.92° N, 130.14° W to 51.69° N, 129.97° W) 16 Jul 2013. And to the south, 1 was just inside Mexican waters 14 km northwest of Islas Coronado 28 Apr 2014. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of sightings of Manx Shearwaters in the northeastern North Pacific during the past 30 years, and several sources, including Force et al. (2006) suggest that this species might well be breeding (or at least prospect - ing) at one or more sites somewhere between Washington and south-central Alaska. BLACK-VENTED SHEARWATER (Puffinus opisthomelas) Like Manx Shearwater, Black-vented Shear - water prefers nearshore waters much closer to land than traversed by cruise ships. Small to moderate numbers of birds were recorded, however, on a number of spring dates soon after ship-departures from San Diego and Los Angeles/San Pedro harbors. Most Black- vented Shearwaters during spring and early summer are breeding to the south, on islands in Mexican waters. North of Point Conception, CA, this spe- cies is most apt to be found beginning in late August or September. During El Niño years, larger numbers move farther to the north, and some birds may occur farther offshore than normal, where they may be seen from cruise ships. One such year was 2015, and a total of 4 birds were 34-43 km off San Mateo to Santa Barbara, CA 29 Sep, and another 4 birds were 54-60 km off Point Arena Men - docino, CA 1 Dec. WILSON'S STORM-PETREL (Oceanites oceanicus) Rare to casual visitor along the West Coast, mostly in early fall and mostly off northern California. Singles were seen from cruise fall off southeastern Alaska, where cruise-ship reports were of 1 seen 9 km off Yakobi Island 18 Sep 2011 and 4 noted 38-40 km west of Forrester Island 6 Aug 2015. Numbers typically peak August–October (Ainley 1976, Briggs et al. 1987, Wahl et al. 2005), and high cruise counts included 3000+ at the typical mouth of Strait of Juan de Fuca site and 1500 south to off La Push, Clallam, WA 5 Sep 2013, 1500+ off central Vancouver Island 11 Sep 2015, and 1345 off Oregon (683 of which off Lincoln) 22 Sep 2009. Later in the season and farther south, moderate numbers remained into November (e.g., 250 off Lincoln to Del Norte, CA 10 Nov 2015) but rapidly dropped off by the end of that month. This species is very rare in winter. FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER (Ardenna carneipes) In spring and summer—mostly beginning in late April or early May—this species is rare to very rare off British Columbia and Washing - ton and very rare off Oregon and California. Most birds encountered off British Colum - bia are found over the continental shelf and slope (Kenyon et al. 2009). The high spring cruise count was 4 associated with large rafts of shearwaters 34-35 km southwest of Noot - ka Island, central Vancouver Island 19 May 2015. The only cruise records during this period in Oregon and California waters in - volved singles 78 km southwest of San Mateo, CA 15 Apr 2013 (slightly early), 84 km off Lincoln, OR 8 Jun 2013, and off California 30 Apr 2014. In summer, the only reports were of singles off Oregon, off Coos 12 Jul 2015, ca. 82 km off Lane 9 Aug 2015, and 77 km off Douglas 9 Aug 2015. In fall, this species is rare but regular in very small numbers. Off British Columbia, it is most often encountered between May and the end of August (Kenyon et al. 2009); farther south it may be found well into November. The high single-day count from cruise ships was 3 birds 45-58 km off southern Curry, OR (1) and northern Del Norte, CA (2) on 10 Nov 2015. The latest recorded were singles 82 km west of Bodega Head, Sonoma, CA 1 Dec 2015 and 88 km off Newport, Lincoln 2 Dec 2015, and 2 birds ca. 85 km off Grays Harbor Grays Harbor, WA 2 Dec 2015. It is casual in winter. MANX SHEARWATER (Puffinus puffinus) Relatively few individuals have been record - ed from cruise ships, undoubtedly because this species prefers nearshore waters closer to land. It is surprising, however, that no Figures 13a, 13b. Studies of Hawaiian Petrels have shown that this species occurs regularly in deeper waters off the West Coast during long, clockwise foraging flights from their Hawaiian Islands breeding grounds. Most birds have been recorded off California, but cruise-ship surveys have discovered that this species also is regular in small numbers north to off southern Oregon. A few individuals have been seen north to British Columbia waters, where the species probably occurs primarily far offshore, particularly beyond the EEZ. These birds were photographed 134 km off Point St. George, Del Norte County, California 13 May 2016 (13a) and 235 km off Depoe Bay, Lincoln County, Oregon 25 May 2014. Photographs by Ilya Povalyaev and Bruce Rideout. Figure 12. One of the more charismatic pelagic species is Mottled Petrel. It is probably most likely to be found along the West Coast cruise-ship routes during late winter and early spring and, especially, in late fall and early winter—periods when such cruises are very rare. Three such Princess line trips between Los Angeles and Vancouver during November and December 2015 produced a total of 13 Mottled Petrels, seven of which were off northern Oregon and southern Washington on 2 December, including this individual 84 km off Grays Harbor County, Washington. Photograph by Ryan Merrill.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of North American Birds - VOLUME 69 NO3 2016