Today, Feb. 22, 2014 I went on a pelagic trip with The Bird Guide out of Newport , Oregon.  The skies were sunny and a north wind at about 10 knots kept the seas a bit choppy but not bad at all.  The previous week saw many storms pass through the area but the seas were in great shape despite all the recent weather.  We went out of the jetties at about 7:30 am and headed south looking for alcids. We then turned and ran off shore.  We got out to about 35 miles off shore before heading home. We managed to stop for a few chum spots salong the way out.

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Okay, I'll get to the good stuff first. Short-tailed Albatross! This would be Oregon's 12 accepted record if it is indeed accepted. I am wondering if this is a younger immature or is it a first-year. The albatross go through a very slow process of obtaining adult plumage. Short-tailed, according to my reading, develop white in the face early on in life. This bird does not show any white in face. So I would think it is early in its life. Just had an update on this bird today (Feb 27, 2014), we have confirmation that this is indeed a first-year bird and the metal band on the right leg shows it is from the bird's main colony at Torishima Is.


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Here is a highly cropped shot of the bird within seconds of being spotted. We were heading south at the time; with the north wind, the bow was a pleasant perch to look for birds. We spotted several Black-footed Albatross ahead of us. This beast was coming along with them. Dave focused on this one and was soon screaming Short-tailed Albatross! It kept on going past us. When we stopped to chum the bird returned and I was able to get the first photo.


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Here is a photo of how the bird compares to a Black-footed. It was browner and was over all a bit larger in the body. I thought the wing span was about equal to the Black-footed. But the bird looked bulkier in body and wider in wings. Its huge pink bill stood out.


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Two Long-tailed Ducks were in the inlet when we returned. The male has pick in the bill, the female has none. Not sure which one is in this fuzzy picture :)


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There were many Black-footed Albatross on the ocean. I thought most were younger birds. The Black-footed breeds in the Leeward Islands of the Hawaiian Islands and a few other spots in the central and western Pacific. They lay eggs in Nov/Dec. Fledging and departure is in July mainly. Thus I was thinking the Black-footed we saw today were non-breeding and were younger. I looked for birds showing adult plumage, saw a few. But most were like this one , moslty brown. It would be interesting to know if breeding albatross wander this far north and east to feed.


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Here is a Black-footed showing more adult plumage.


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Northern Fulmars were the dominate species on the ocean today. There is no way to describe how many different plumage aspects they can show. Closer in Common Murres dominated.


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There were many Pelagic Cormorants in the channel. Many were obtaining their white patch for the breeding season. Always something interesting going on with even the common birds.


I am getting rather tired now, long day.  Maybe I'll add more later.  We did see alcids, did not get any great views except for a few Rhino Auklets.  The alcids molt into their alternate plumage in January, so many murres were in alternate plumage and a few Rhino Auklets were just stunning in their wonderful plumage.  We saw two jaegers , but I did not get good looks and I was blocking Tim from getting a good view, no one else was able to id them either.  The view was quick and the boat was rocking and rolling at the time.

Bird List

Ocean off Newport Oregon

Feb 22, 2014

Common Name Scientfic Name Count Action
Surf Scoter Melanitta perspicillata ---
Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis ---
Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula ---
Barrow's Goldeneye Bucephala islandica ---
Red-throated Loon Gavia stellata ---
Pacific Loon Gavia pacifica ---
Common Loon Gavia immer ---
Horned Grebe Podiceps auritus ---
Eared Grebe Podiceps nigricollis ---
Western Grebe Aechmophorus occidentalis ---
Laysan Albatross Phoebastria immutabilis ---
Black-footed Albatross Phoebastria nigripes ---
Short-tailed Albatross Phoebastria albatrus ---
Northern Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis ---
Brandt's Cormorant Phalacrocorax penicillatus ---
Pelagic Cormorant Phalacrocorax pelagicus ---
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus ---
American Coot Fulica americana ---
Black Turnstone Arenaria melanocephala ---
Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla ---
Mew Gull Larus canus ---
Western Gull Larus occidentalis ---
California Gull Larus californicus ---
Herring Gull Larus argentatus ---
Thayer's Gull Larus thayeri ---
Glaucous-winged Gull Larus glaucescens ---
Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus ---
Common Murre Uria aalge ---
Marbled Murrelet Brachyramphus marmoratus ---
Ancient Murrelet Synthliboramphus antiquus ---
Cassin's Auklet Ptychoramphus aleuticus ---
Rhinoceros Auklet Cerorhinca monocerata ---

I am sure I am forgetting a few species.  Will finish tomorrow.  Would like to thank the crew of Misty and the guides, Dave, Tim, Russ, Shawneen and Tom.

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Oh, I did forget a species, we saw a Short-tailed Gull out there today it was flying along with the boat...okay for the non-birders..and this is on the internet...there is no Short-tailed Gull, just a gull without a tail. But since we saw a Short-tailed Albatross and missed on a Short-tailed Shearwater I thought I would just finish with this.


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