Or if you were with a kit lens like myself, then you saw this.
The first image is a crop of the above.
I bet the majority of people didn't even see it quick enough. And it was as small as its looks. The bird itself is not too much dissimilar in size to a tennis ball.
And a Brown Pelican very close to the boat.
Risso's Dolphin soon followed. Unlike the other dolphins, they were on the surface quite a lot so getting a picture was easy. However all they tended to show on this occasion was the fin. Risso's is a round headed squid-eating dolphin that does not have the beak of the typical species, and the dorsal fin is very long and curved which is a feature I could easily tell from a distance. I was happier to get this one because it is a deep-water species that is very rarely seen except well offshore and even then they can be hard to find. They are mostly dark grey, but can appear white because of scratches and scars. I have no idea what these scratches come from, but they accumulate an awful lot of them. All I can find is that their sensitive skin does not regenerate pigment when scratched from playing with other dolphins and squid and thus lasts them their entire life. Unless they were biting each other I can't really imagine this happening, and I always thought squid(s?) were soft and squishy but doing some research it seems a squid bite is worse than a pair of scissors.
Red-necked Phalaropes soon started appaearing again off the left side of the boat.
A second Sunfish appeared later on as did the best candidate for an Ashy Storm-petrel. The back seemed greyish, but I don't think it can be seen unless its at full size, which Blogger does not seem to show even when you click on it.
It was a Western Sandpiper, my first ever peep (Peep = one of those notoriously difficult to identify North American sandpipers in genus Calidris) in three years of living in North America. Long overdue if you ask me.
|List Status:||Published in Atlas|
|Notes:||Pelagic bird trip 17th September. Also seen: Long-beaked Common, Short-beaked Common, Bottlenose, Risso's Dolphins + Blue Shark, Antarctic Minke Whale, Ocean Sunfish and California Sea Lion.|
|Northern Shoveler||Anas clypeata||1||Female/eclipse male well out to sea.|
|Common Loon||Gavia immer||4||Non-breeding birds.|
|Northern Fulmar||Fulmarus glacialis||Dark and intermediate morphs.|
|Pink-footed Shearwater||Puffinus creatopus||Many, but mostly further out to sea.|
|Sooty Shearwater||Puffinus griseus||Many.|
|Ashy Storm-Petrel||Oceanodroma homochroa||4||Very few.|
|Black Storm-Petrel||Oceanodroma melania||Large flocks.|
|Brandt's Cormorant||Phalacrocorax penicillatus|
|Double-crested Cormorant||Phalacrocorax auritus|
|Pelagic Cormorant||Phalacrocorax pelagicus||Possible birds off San Miguel.|
|Brown Pelican||Pelecanus occidentalis|
|Great Blue Heron||Ardea herodias||2|
|Snowy Egret||Egretta thula||3||At dock in Santa Barbara.|
|Black Oystercatcher||Haematopus bachmani||2||San Miguel Island.|
|Whimbrel||Numenius phaeopus||1||At dock in Santa Barbara.|
|Red-necked Phalarope||Phalaropus lobatus||Many close to Santa Barbara dock.|
|Red Phalarope||Phalaropus fulicarius||1|
|Heermann's Gull||Larus heermanni||More abundant than Westerns.|
|Western Gull||Larus occidentalis|
|California Gull||Larus californicus||1||San Miguel Island. Pale grey back and yellow feet.|
|Common Tern||Sterna hirundo||2|
|Elegant Tern||Thalasseus elegans||1||At dock in Santa Barbara.|
|Black Skimmer||Rynchops niger||12||At dock in Santa Barbara.|
|South Polar Skua||Stercorarius maccormicki||1||Dark morph.|
|Pomarine Jaeger||Stercorarius pomarinus|
|Parasitic Jaeger||Stercorarius parasiticus||2||All near Santa Barbara early on.|
|Cassin's Auklet||Ptychoramphus aleuticus||1|
|Rhinoceros Auklet||Cerorhinca monocerata||1||1st summer.|
|Great-tailed Grackle||Quiscalus mexicanus||1||Dock in Santa Barbara.|