|Headed out of Half Moon Bay harbor at the crack of the first gull's fart|
Leaving harbor we slowly cruised past the rocky breakwaters, covered with Elegant terns, pelicans, Surfbirds & Black Turnstones, oh, and gulls, loads of gulls.
Barely out of the harbor we passed a big ole' raft of Sooty Shearwaters. The chocolate ocean dwellers are weren't more than a half mile off shore (uh... that's by my yardstick anyway).
|Small portion of a large gathering of Sooties|
|Compact Sooty Shearwater shooting by|
|The Common Murres weren't too far from land either|
|The bruiser on the left is a Stellar's Sea Lion, and there is |
one on the rear too - the others are California Sea Lions
Just when we spotted our first Common Murres, a Sabine's gull or two and other cool pelagic birds, I shrieked - scaring even myself - as I spotted a Pacific White-sided Dolfin pop out of the ocean just below where I stood on deck. Suddenly there were dolphins everywhere, headed for the boat.
|"Hurrah! A boat to play with!"|
|Mini-spy hop by a curious passerby|
|A dolphin team leaves no chance to show off unexploited|
I love dolphins and the way they hurry over to enjoy a free ride from the slip stream along side a speeding boat. I guess there were about 200 Pacific White-sides shooting around the boat. There were some mothers with their 'mini-me' babies trailing along beside them. I was in heaven.
There were also a half dozen or so Northern Right Whale Dolphins leaping about, but unfortunately by the time I would spot them, they were someplace else - they're sneaky like that. However, since it is my damned birthday, I give myself permission to post a shot I took of one during a Searcher trip out of San Diego one soggy gray day years ago.
|Whale Redux: There is no kind of dorsal fin on a Northern Right Whale Dolphin|
Happily I had my Canon camera up and ready as I'd been taking the above still shots of dolphins, so I managed to capture only 3 shots of the bird, only one of which is any good. HURRAH! I got a lifer, a Greater Shearwater, which in his own excitement Dan Singer messed up the name. I forgive him, as when I spot cool birds I often get so excited I can't spit out any words at all.
|Greater Shearwater, headed lickity split, for parts unknown|
The boat buzzed with the excitement of the Shearwater - it was expected to return to the boat as it had at first seemed to want a better look, but it seemed to change its mind and just head off into horizon. I thought Greater Shearwaters were limited to the Atlantic ocean, but apparently there are small numbers of them on the California coast. I still can't believe I was lucky enough to see that big bird fly by.
Really - with the boat rocking up and down, and trying to not fall on my face while holding my big-arse canon camera with both hands, pelagic photography is difficult at best. Enough excuses, here are some other birds I managed to get some kind of shot of.
|Red-necked Phalarope (front) & pair of Red Phalaropes. These |
little biddies always look too small to be on the ocean at all.
One of about 3 or 4 Pomarine Jaegers spotted during the day
Um... I'm calling this beauty a non-breeding Long-tailed Jaeger.
|A wet and groggy looking Tufted Puffin|
|I swear, the larger the whale, the smaller the dorsal fin|
|Love the water sheeting action on this Humpback's top|
For no good reason, is a video I shot with my iPhone, a neat trick as I had no idea what was on the screen due to the glare. Look for dolphins dipping in and out of the waters as far as the eye can see.