Fall Pacific Pelagic Cruise Introduction

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October 19-23, 2018
Leader: Rick Bowers

Our spring and fall pelagic cruises are multi-day trips aboard commercial cruise ships whose routes provide a good offering of avian pelagic possibilities. Our Pacific Pelagic Cruise trips travel back-and-forth between Los Angeles, California and Vancouver, British Columbia. Going north in the Spring and south in the Autumn. Our Fall 2018 Pacific Coast Pelagic Cruise features a stop on Astoria, Oregon where we will spend half-a-day visiting coastal sites as well as marshes and forest for a variety of Pacific Northwest specialties.

If you are one who easily succumbs to seasickness, this is a fabulous—and stomach calming!—way to see pelagic species…with all the comforts of a full service cruise ship! Our Fall Pacific Pelagic Cruise is aboard the 951ft long Emerald Princess. A luxury, full service cruise ship, Emerald Princess provides us an incredibly stable platform to view birds, covers the Pacific Ocean from Southern California to Canada with creature comforts that make this an eminently enjoyable deep-sea pelagic trip.

 

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One of the Princess Cruise ships we will be abord.

The majority of our days at sea are spent on the bow of the promenade deck, moving to one side or the other if weather conditions warrant. Here, several stories above the ocean you have a huge field of view when on watch that allows scanning for pelagic birds and marine mammals with ease. The promenade deck is covered, the ship is large and stable enough to allow the use of spotting scopes and the list of pelagic bird species is long and filled with potential deep-water goodies.

Our cruise begins in Vancouver, British Colombia. We hope to find a good sampling of near-shore species as we begin our cruise. Before the sun sets we hope to see Surf Scoter, loons, Red-necked Grebe, Sooty Shearwater, cormorants, Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemot, gulls and Northwestern Crow.

As the sun rises on our first day at sea, we’ll be in deep water far off Washington/Oregon coast. Here is where we begin our search for expected rarities as Murphy’s, Hawaiian and possibly Cook’s Petrels. Storm-petrels of several species are possible, topped by striking Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels pattering about the ocean all around our ship. Shearwaters are well represented with five regularly occurring species possible.  Black-footed Albatross will be common with some Laysan Albatrosses thrown in here-and-there.  The chance for a Short-tailed Albatross is always tempting!

In the late morning we will stop in Astoria, Oregon.  Here we will explore Fort Stevens and Ecola State Parks, as well some nearby land birding sites.  Ducks, mergansers, Virginia Rail, Northern Harrier, Bald Eagle, Belted Kingfisher, Norther Flicker, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Marsh Wren and Fox Sparrow are a few of the more common species found in the area.

We will then have two full days at sea to search for exciting deep water pelagic birds, whales and dolphins.

Highlights from our 2017 cruise include no fewer than three Hawaiian Petrels, a double handful of Murphy’s Petrels (several so close they filled your binocular view!), four species of shearwaters, hundreds of albatrosses, thousands of storm-petrels and a good showing of whales topped by many breaching Humpback Whales and prolonged looks at a Cuvier’s Beaked Whale.

It should be noted that this is a true pelagic birding experience and we’ll have two full days at sea, scoping for seabirds from dawn to dusk. Folks can come and go from our gathering on the promenade deck as they like for meals and rest breaks thus making birding much less difficult. And pelagic birding is often difficult. Just much less so when you have all the amenities of a luxury cruise liner at your disposal.

Leader’s Take: Our Pacific Coast Pelagic Cruise is a fantastic option for anyone who gets seasick easily, wishes to search for deepwater pelagic species and do so in comfort. Our 2017 cruise proved that photographic opportunities are surprisingly good as well. I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings. Join us and let’s find out together!

Note that our Pacific Pelagic Cruise can be taken in conjunction with Washington State tours.

Leader: Rick Bowers

 

 

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