went to Santa Barbara and Catalina Islands over the weekend aboard the Magician
out of 22nd Street Landing in San Pedro. The trip left late Friday night and we
awoke at anchor at Santa Barbara Island. Normally we would have stayed a second
night, but an increasing groundswell generated by tropical storm Ivo made us
relocate to Parson's Landing on the northwest side of Catalina Island.
a Saturday morning island hike, we surveyed Sutil Rock from Signal Peak. Mark
Stacy spotted a near-adult Masked (possibly Nazca) Booby among the roughly two
dozen Brown Boobies visible perched on the cliffs. The Magician got close to
the rock after circumnavigating the island during our late afternoon departure.
We were able to count approximately 70 Brown Boobies and got better looks at
the Masked Booby. My photos show a greenish-yellow bill but I would have liked
slightly better quality to be absolutely sure.
our return trip from Catalina Island Sunday afternoon, we had an adult Masked
Booby fly by at about 125 meters from the boat. We came away with the
impression of a yellow rather than orange bill but were not willing to rule out
Nazca. Later, a post on Facebook by Gregg Gentry showed a pair of nice close-up
photos of what must have been the same bird since we saw the whale watching
boat nearby just before we spotted the booby coming from its direction.
conclusion, both birds are almost certainly Masked Boobies but I am reluctant
to make it an absolute.
Horned Larks seem to have had a very good nesting season; there were flocks
flying all over the island. We saw only a couple of straggler Pigeon
Guillemots. The only two possible migrants were a Common Yellowthroat and an
American Kestrel. The canyon above Parson’s Landing was very birdy but there
was nothing unexpected.
encountered very few seabirds during the crossings. Between Santa Barabara and
Catalina Islands, we had 1 Cassin's Auklet, 1 Ashy Storm-petrel, 10 Pink-footed
Shearwaters, 4 Sooty Shearwaters, and 3 Black-vented Shearwaters, in addition
to a few dozen Western Gulls and a couple each of Double-crested Cormorants and
the crossing from Catalina to the mainland, we had 4 Pink-footed Shearwaters, 7
Black-vented Shearwaters, 2 Red-necked Phalaropes, 1 Pomarine Jaeger, and 1
California Gull, in addition to a few Western Gulls and Elegant Terns, plus 1
Royal Tern and 1 Barn Swallow.
next two-day Santa Barbara Island excursion is scheduled for September 25 and
26. More information can be found at http://catalinaexplorer.com/island-expeditions.html.
Whales & Wildlife
P.O. Box 1667
San Pedro, CA 90733