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Abundant and diverse marine mammals among the numerous birdnados.


Image: a “birdnado” hot spot with a variety of seabird species, a humpback whale and long-beaked common dolphins. Not shown: California sea lions.


2023 09-17 SB Channel


A high marine layer kept things pleasant in the Channel today, in addition to the calm seas and light breeze. Sightings were phenomenal: 4500 long-beaked common dolphins, 2 Minke whales, 200 California sea lions, 7 humpback whales and 40 offshore bottlenose dolphins.


We did not run as far to the west today, instead worked mostly south out to the edge of The Lanes. Sightings began 4 miles south of the harbor where our first groups of common dolphins, large and small, including some birdnados, were found. (See today’s photo for an example of a birdnado). Around the edge of a birdnado hot spot a BIG Minke whale came by and gave great looks. Moments later, a second, smaller Minke WITH NO DORSAL FIN, also paid us a fleeting visit. As we got back up to speed and on our southerly course heading, a nice pod of offshore bottlenose dolphins located us and took up surfing our wake waves and high jumping 20 feet or more in the air.


Moving just a bit southwest and now 6 miles off Hope Ranch, more dolphins, hot spots, birdnados and large mobs of sea lions produced 4 individual humpback whales. Most were rather shy and seemed to be searching and perhaps feeding sub-surface (who really knows what’s going on down there?)


After moving southeast, and again in the dolphins, we found a single adult humpback whale. This beast was unusually vocal with frequent loud grunts and whines…you’ve gotta love these anthropomorphisms. We located this humpback because we saw it breach from a few miles away. On the edge of The Lanes we watched two additional, single humpback whales.


You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

CondorExpressPhotos.com

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