Out to Sea

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I went on my first pelagic trip ever
lookin’ for birds in the ocean
I rode in that boat on the left
MISTY
Weather was perfect
Seas were a bit rough
It was a 10 hour tour
I only felt sea sick for 10% of the time

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Red-necked Phalarope
Nonsensically small bird to live in the ocean
Weighs 1.2 ounces
Photo taken about 17 miles out
So tiny, how are they not food for everything?

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Angry looking dinosaur
But not a dinosaur
A Rhinoceros Auklet
The little horn at the base of its beak gets bigger
Brings in all the ladies

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Black-Footed Albatross
The main reason for the trip.
Oregon’s Largest seabird
With a 7 foot wingspan

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Though one of the smallest Albatross species
The majority of them breed in Hawaii
Then they spend their winters in the pacific
The closest they get to us is 35+ miles off the coast of Oregon

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Just waiting for strangers to boat by
And feed them popcorn
And maybe some beef fat
Though they mostly eat squid, fish eggs and plastic

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They glide majestically over the waves
And have a very good sense of smell
Allowing them to find food from afar
But they can drink water whenever they want

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They have a desalinization gland in their head
That pulls the salt out of the sea water they drink
And then a highly salinated solution drips out their nose
I love them.

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This Albatross is being investigated by a South polar skua
Whereas the Albatross nests in Hawaii, these guys nest in the South Pole!
And they all winter far out in the Pacific

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South polar Skua visits a gull
They are cleptoparasites
Literally parasites by theft
If they see gulls, terns, or fulmars with fish
They just bite them and shake them until they drop it

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They also just kill and eat baby penguins.
COOL!

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In the foreground a smaller type of Skua
The juvenile Long-tailed jaeger
Inspecting a juvenile California Gull
These Jaegers also harass and steal food from birds
Though my understanding is that it is usually from smaller birds
Little bullies (I love anthropomorphising stuff!)

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Buller’s Shearwater
I don’t really know anything about them
Other than that they are beautiful
Clean white pattern underneath
Outlined in black
This was a bird I wanted to see on the trip, but wasn’t a sure thing
I was very happy to see it

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This is a Pink-footed Shearwater
not to be confused with Flesh-footed Shearwater
Who names these things?
The more common of the large shearwaters
Having to only fly from Chile, not New Zeland, to get to waters off of Oregon
Incredible journeys made by all

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Last but not least
Northern Fulmars
They come in two flavors:
Dark morph, and Light Morph
Both salty.

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These guys also have the desalinization gland
Though their nostrils are on the top
Their beaks appear to have been broken
then super glued back together by a child

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They can live to be 30+ years old
And return to their same nest site every year
Though they don’t start mating until they are between 6-12 years old

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I saw other birds too
But these are the best of the best photos
Taking photos with a super zoom lens
On a ship that is rocking very erratically
IS SUPER HARD
But I had a good time, and I would love to try again

OH YEAH HOW COULD I FORGET I SAW AN INCREDIBLE WHALE!!!

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Grand Finale
Humpback Whale Breaching
Jumping
Spinning
Doing Pec Slaps

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Look at the barnacles on his chin!
like some weird goatee
These are called Coronula diadema
And it is a species of barnacle that only lives on Humpback Whales!
WEIRD, I guess kinda like a STI
But for whales

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It is smiling!
You can see its baleen
And I think that little dot in the bottom center
That is its eye
I always take photos mid-blink

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The whale was doing “Pec Slaps”
Just smashing its pectoral fins into the water
Making huge splashes
And we all loved it

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A final Jump

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And a final splash

The trip was incredible
The whale display may have been a once in a lifetime event
Though I hope that’s not true
I had a great time, got 13 new lifers
14 new Oregon birds, & 18 new Lincoln County birds
Oh yeah, and a majestic Humpback whale
Perhaps the best bird of the trip.

 

9 thoughts on “Out to Sea

  1. Wow, amazing photos Eric. High degree of difficulty in getting so many in perfect focus and with the right exposure. The albatross and skua shots are some of the best I’ve seen. Looks like you had a great time.

    Like

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