The most amazing pelagic of my life! GUADALUPE AND SCRIPPS'S MURRELET, SLATY-BACKED GULL AND MANX SHEARWATER - all on the same trip!!
By Melissa Hafting
August 18, 2019
Yesterday I had the most amazing pelagic of my life and we didn't even find a fishing boat!. This has now topped the two pelagics where I've seen 3 Short- tailed albatross and 15 Laysan and 1 Short-tailed Albatross.
We left Ocean Outfitters at 8 am on the "Miss B Haven." We first saw a Manx Shearwater that Tom Plath spotted by Cleland Island. Artie Ahier found a Manx Shearwater on August 13 and 15th but after reviewing photos we now all believe that our bird was different. Our bird is much more ratty and worn and missing primaries. This is very much unlike Artie's bird which is very clean and missing none! See HERE. It is pretty cool to know there are at least 2 Manx's out there!. It was really special for Liron and Ilya to finally see a Manx Shearwater it was a lifer for all of us. This is not the reason it is special though.... In 2017 we did a young birder pelagic trip and Liam Singh spotted a Manx and all 3 of us were not looking the right way and we missed it!. The bird only stayed a few seconds and we were all pretty down so this sighting yesterday was all the more sweeter!
Manx Shearwater off Tofino - Photos: Melissa Hafting
All of a sudden after admiring how pretty and small the Manx was Liron Gertsman spotted a 3rd cycle Slaty-backed Gull in the same flock!. I need to start calling him the "Slaty-backed Gull whisperer" because this is the second self found Slaty-backed Gull that he's spotted and I've been lucky enough to see both of his!.
Slaty-backed Gull off Tofino - Photos: Melissa Hafting
Slaty-backed Gull off Tofino - Photos: Liron Gertsman
As we headed out to pelagic waters Mike Toochin, myself and Ilya Povalyaev spotted a Guadalupe Murrelet! It was less than ten feet from the boat! It's insane to have that bird not way further out it's only BC's 3rd record!. Liron and Ilya got some good photos of it. There was also a second bird here that was a Xantus's Murrelet but it flew off too quickly to see the face and id it to species. It was most likely a Guadalupe Murrelet since it was right beside the Guadalupe.
Guadalupe Murrelet off Tofino - Photo: Liron Gertsman
Next I, Mike Toochin and Mark Wynja spotted 2 Scripps's Murrelets and several miles later Liron Gerstman spotted 2 more Scripps's Murrelets. It was a pretty magical day... I got 3 lifers and 3 BC birds and we had 4 provincial rarities!. I am now at 432 for my BC list and 711 for the ABA.
2 out of 4 Scripps's Murrelets seen off Tofino - Photos: Melissa Hafting
We had lots of great birds like South Polar Skua, Arctic Terns, Red Phalaropes, Sabine's Gulls, Pomarine Jaeger, Tufted Puffin, Leach's and Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel and more.
South Polar Skua off Tofino - Photos: Melissa Hafting
On the way back in we had 3 Trasient Orcas and we also saw a Sea Otter but no amazing marine mammals like how we had in March with Risso's and Northern Right Whale Dolphins.
I am still reeling and happy I could share it with such great people. As I said we never saw a fishing boat so our numbers are low but we still did really well and it is a day I will never forget!.
Transient Orcas off Tofino - Photo: Melissa Hafting
I forgot to mention in my excitement that the day before the pelagic started off good as well since we relocated a Yellow-billed Loon in Qualicum Beach. Also we stayed at a great little bed and breakfast in Tofino called "Jarmo's B&B" if you want a semi-affordable place in Tofino that's super clean stay here!.
Immature Yellow-billed Loon at Little Qualicum Estuary - Photo: Liron Gertsman
Thanks to everyone who joined me on the trip I organized and thanks to Ocean Outfitters and Captain Ron for such a special day!.
Now for those Parakeet Auklets.....
To see the original post and other posts by Melissa, please visit her blog – Dare To Bird.