I had the opportunity to go on a WhaleFest fundraising cruise today. I was along to talk about the birds. Although I hardly consider myself an expert, I have learned a lot in the last few years, and it was fun to go along, see what was out there, and talk about some of the things I’ve learned.
Weather: The weather was fairly nice. It was cool, but probably above freezing, with overcast skies and minimal wind while the boat was out.
Birds: There were many birds that I saw out on the cruise. Of particular note were the first Black-legged Kittiwakes I’ve seen since the fall, a great abundance of gulls in the channel (the long-line season opened recently and the effluent from the fish processors attracts the gulls), a pair of Horned Puffins near the channel breakwater, and several birds that were probably Rhinocerous Auklets.
In the channel I saw 4 male Common Goldeneye clustered around a female (presumed) Common Goldeneye. The males were clearly trying to attract her attention with their courtship displays.
Here’s a complete list of what I saw on the water:
In the channel on the way out were:
Pelagic Cormorant (including one with white patch; breeding plumage)
Horned Puffin (two of them near breakwater)
Among the islands between Crow Island and the Breakwater we also saw:
Common Loon (probably)
Double-crested Cormorant (lots of cormorants of both species on some rocks)
Common Mergansers (probable)
Other Notes: We stopped to watch 4 or more whales in the vicinity of Crow Island. There was also a group of sealions near the north end of crow Island.