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Mark your calendar: All-Day Pelagic Bird Trip May 17

If you want to get out to offshore waters beyond the reach of most day trips and have a chance to see a number of outstanding pelagic birds and marine mammals, the Condor Express has a 12-hour pelagic trip scheduled for May 17 (Sunday) out of Santa Barbara Harbor. Trips at this time of year have had outstanding results over the last six years.

This trip gives us the opportunity to get far offshore of southern California and spend a lot of time in places that one-day trips can only search briefly, if they can get there at all. If sea conditions permit, we are planning to get out to places like Arguello Canyon, the Rodriguez Seamount, and several banks and trenches that have produced a spectacular variety of marine birds and mammals.  If sea conditions prevent us from getting to some of these locations, we will get as far offshore as we can to places where we have found great birds.  On past trips we have found Murphy’s Petrel, Cook’s Petrel, Laysan Albatross, Black-footed Albatross, Leach’s and Ashy Storm-Petrels, Red-necked and Red Phalaropes (sometimes in the thousands), Scripps’s Murrelet, Sabine’s Gull, Arctic Tern, and numbers of the expected shearwaters, jaegers, and alcids.

Deepwater trips at this time of year have the potential to produce several rare species. We saw numbers of Cook’s Petrels at this time of year in 2009 and 2010. In addition, we will make a special effort to locate Murphy’s Petrels, which are not present every spring, but can be found in small numbers over deep water. Other rarities that could be encountered include Hawaiian Petrel, Parakeet Auklet, and Horned and Tufted Puffins. Recent trips on research cruises and repositioning trips this spring have seen Cook’s and Murphy’s Petrels and numbers of Laysan Albatrosses. This may be a good year for Cook’s Petrels again. There is always a chance that we could come across something outrageous we are not expecting, but we never know until we get out there, which makes these trips very exciting.

Our vessel is the ultra-fast Condor Express. This catamaran features a spacious and comfortable cabin that seats 55 people, full galley (the food is great!), and excellent viewing from both the upper and lower decks. A full contingent of outstanding seabird leaders will be present to make sure we see all that is out there. Captain Dave and crew know how to run birding trips and are enthusiastic and helpful. We work hard to get as close as we can to the birds and mammals, while getting them in favorable light…photographers will not be disappointed! We never know what we will find out there, but there is always something that leaves lasting memories with all who have gone aboard. The cost for the trip is $195. We depart Santa Barbara promptly at 7:00 AM, so please arrive by 6:30 AM to facilitate check-in and loading. Call the Sealanding at 805-564-6753 to reserve your spot.  I look forward to seeing you on-board in May.

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