aba events

IFO: California Seabirds

californiaseabirdsWhen: August 17-22, 2014
Where: Half Moon Bay, California
How Much: TBA
Event Type:
IFO Program in partnership with ALVARO’S ADVENTURES
Limit: 24 people
Instructor: Alvaro Jaramillo & George Armistead
Registration: More info coming soon
For more INFO
: email us at: events@aba.org, or click here to be alerted as new information becomes available.

Seabird enthusiasts have long held the central California coast as one of the premier destinations in the world for accessing large numbers of seabirds and cetaceans (whales, dolphins, etc.). Year-round there is an abundance of biomass in these seas, and in August many species are beginning their southbound migration back to their breeding grounds, making this a great time to study seabirds off California. This might seem counter-intuitive; migrating to breeding grounds in August? In fact many of the seabirds we see in the ABA Area breed in the southern hemisphere only visiting our waters in their winter/our summer. Mid-late August is a fine time to see Sooty Shearwaters streaming by in the thousands, and perhaps the handsomest of all shearwaters, the Buller’s Shearwater is in numbers too.

Buller's Shearwater is one of the more handsomely attired seabirds off of California. (Photo © Alvaro Jaramillo)

Buller’s Shearwater is one of the more handsomely attired seabirds off of California. (Photo © Alvaro Jaramillo)

Other species like the globally threatened Ashy Storm-Petrel occur just offshore at this time, and Fulmars and albatrosses are possible too. In addition to the tubenoses, other seabirds are active including jaegers, gulls, and terns, and local breeding seabirds have their young of the year out in the cold, nutrient-rich waters. Alcids like Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemot, and Marbled Murrelet ought to be around and there’s always the outside chance at a Scripp’s Murrelet.

Participants will receive 3 lectures during this IFO Program that will cover the taxonomy of the seabirds we are studying, and their evolution and natural history. We will endeavor 3 pelagic trips (weather permitting) to try see these amazing birds in the field, and in their element. The goal will be to see these birds and really peel back the layers a bit, and to appreciate the totality of their annual cycle and natural history.

Black-footed and Laysan albatrosses gobbling up some grub. (Photo © Alvaro Jaramillo)

Black-footed and Laysan albatrosses gobbling up some grub. (Photo © Alvaro Jaramillo)

Between lectures and pelagic trips there will be informal birding opportunities on land.

This IFO Program is a continuation of what we hope will be a series on seabirds with regular offerings by these instructors and others. Click here to see a summary of the 2013 offering Gulf Stream Tubenoses of North Carolina

To get a sense of the species possible and their abundance at this season off/along the central coast of California, see the eBird list here.

 

INSTRUCTORS:

Alvaro Jaramillo has worked as a professional birding guide for nearly two decades, and is the owner/operator of Alvaro’s Adventures. He is an author too and was the lead author of New World Blackbirds: The Icterids, and on The Birds of Chile, a place well known as a major destination for seabird enthusiasts.

George Armistead is the events coordinator for the ABA, and worked as a professional bird guide for Field Guides Inc. from 2002-2012, guiding trips to all seven continents. He’s been studying seabirds for about 20 years, and has spent over 200 days at sea (about 1/3 of them in the Pacific) making multiple trips to the Southern Ocean and also is a regular guide on pelagic trips off of Hatteras, North Carolina.

REGISTRATION

Price includes:
– 3 pelagic trips (2 from Half Moon Bay, 1 from Monterrey)
– 3 lectures on seabirds (pelagic birding background/history, taxonomy, pelagic avifuana of central CA)
– 1 group dinner

Excluded from the registration fee are:
– flights, lodging*, food, transportation**

*For group rates on lodging, please inquire at events@aba.org, or call (800) 850-2473 x260.
**In California the DMV requires anyone driving a 15-passenger van to have a commercial drivers license. This stipulation dictates we offer this IFO as a self-drive type of event, rather than including ground transportation. If you are interested in car-pooling (sharing a rental car) with fellow registrants we will try and facilitate that. Between pelagic trips/lectures there will be an opportunity or two for registrants to meet instructors in the field for some land birding if that is of interest.

Cancellation policy: Full refund, less $150.00 per person administration fee, until July 18th, 2014. No refunds after July 18th, 2014.

Arrival/Departure

The recommended airport for this event is the San Francisco International Airport (SFO), but members may find comparable airfare or better in/out of San Jose (SJC). We will have an informal meet/greet happy hour at 730pm on the 17th for those interested (time/place TBA). We will also have a farewell dinner together.

Pace
While seatrips in many places can be rough and rigorous, this tends to be less the case out of Half Moon Bay and Monterey Bay. We don’t have much running time, as it often only takes about 30 minutes or less before we start to hit spots for birds. Combine the relatively short travel distances to where the birds are with the typically not overly rough seas in these bays and folks generally find trips out of these ports “relatively easy”. That said, it is the Pacific Ocean and rougher conditions can occur, so participants should be prepared with seasickness medication, rain gear, and warmer layers (as it can get cold at sea). Weather could cause us to cancel pelagic trips and if so we can opt for birding opportunities on land instead.

August is a good month to see Elegant Tern in the region. (Photo © G. Armistead)

August is a good month to see Elegant Tern in the region. (Photo © G. Armistead)

Pink-footed Shearwaters are often in evidence too. (Photo © G. Armistead)

Pink-footed Shearwaters are often in evidence too. (Photo © G. Armistead)

Common Murres should be off the nest and on the water attending young in August. (Photo © G. Armistead)

Common Murres should be off the nest and on the water attending young in August. (Photo © G. Armistead)