A great ocean hot spot developed today where sea lions, common dolphins, black vented shearwaters, other seabirds, and a humpback whale all came together to feed on northern anchovies.
THE Place to Be
It was lat, calm, sunny, clear skies, clear water, no wind and drop dead gorgeous all day. I have personally never seen so many long beaked common dolphins so concentrated in the north eastern Santa Barbara Channel. There were pods of #dolphins everywhere we roamed. At least 3,000 dolphins were closely watched. Most of these little cetaceans were on hot spots full of sea birds and sea lions to the chagrin of the northern anchovy population. Picture a flat smooth blue ocean with hot spots of activity here and there as far as you can see. A few of these hot spots were robust and active, in fact we found one of our 3 humpback whales joining in on a feeding frenzy on one of them. The one largest hot spot had a gang of several dozen California sea lions and a couple hundred dolphins. Sea birds, especially black vented shearwaters, were flying circles around the spot and diving. It was an amazing sight to see. (See photograph above). Two earlier humpback whales were located farther to the east and had long down times…near 15 minutes on a couple of dives. Three or so Minke whales were also around the active regions. The Santa Barbara Channel is one of the coolest locations around and is definitely THE place to be. I’ll post up the photographs from today’s adventure sometime tomorrow afternoon.
SCHEDULE NEWS: The Condor Express is not running open public trips on Mondays and Tuesdays now. Also, a reminder, we have an open, public pelagic bird trip on the calendar for Saturday, November 15. It is approximately a 10-hour expedition and departs SEA Landing at 7am sharp. Many thanks to my friend Carole who noticed that I made a typo back on September 17 or 18 and gave the wrong date. Thanks, Carole ! Finally, there is no public whale watching trip tomorrow, Friday, October 3.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express Biologist and Photographer
on the web: www.CondorExpress.com/blog