<p><i>Phalacrocorax penicillatus</i>, Phalacrocoracidae<br />
Inshore Waters, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
September 20, 2014</p>

Brandt's Cormorants

Phalacrocorax penicillatus, Phalacrocoracidae
Inshore Waters, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
September 20, 2014

<p><i>Haematopus bachmani</i>, Haematopodidae<br />
Inshore Waters, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
September 20, 2014</p>

Black Oystercatcher

Haematopus bachmani, Haematopodidae
Inshore Waters, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
September 20, 2014

<p><i>Uria aalge</i>, Alcidae<br />
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
September 20, 2014</p>

Common Murres

Uria aalge, Alcidae
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
September 20, 2014

<p><i>Puffinus creatopus</i>, Procellariidae<br />
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
September 20, 2014</p>

Pink-footed Shearwater

Puffinus creatopus, Procellariidae
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
September 20, 2014

<p><i>Zalophus californianus</i>, OtariidaePelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, CanadaNikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6September 20, 2014</p>

California Sea Lion - ♂

Zalophus californianus, OtariidaePelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, CanadaNikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6September 20, 2014

<p><i>Xema sabini</i>, Laridae<br />
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
September 20, 2014</p>

Juvenile Sabine's Gull

Xema sabini, Laridae
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
September 20, 2014

<p><i>Larus argentatus</i>, Laridae<br />
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
September 20, 2014</p>

Herring Gull

Larus argentatus, Laridae
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
September 20, 2014

<p><i>Zalophus californianus</i>, Otariidae<br />
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
September 20, 2014</p>

California Sea Lion - ♂

Zalophus californianus, Otariidae
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
September 20, 2014

<p><i>Phoebastria nigripes</i>, Diomedeidae<br />
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
September 20, 2014</p>

Black-footed Albatross

Phoebastria nigripes, Diomedeidae
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
September 20, 2014

<p><i>Mola mola</i>, Molidae<br />
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
September 20, 2014</p>

Ocean Sunfish

Mola mola, Molidae
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
September 20, 2014

<p><i>Megaptera novaeangliae</i>, Balaenopteridae<br />
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
September 20, 2014</p>

Humpback Whale

Megaptera novaeangliae, Balaenopteridae
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
September 20, 2014

<p><i>Callorhinus ursinus</i>, Otariidae<br />
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
September 20, 2014</p>

Northern Fur Seal

Callorhinus ursinus, Otariidae
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
September 20, 2014

<p><i>Sula leucogaster</i>, Sulidae<br />
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
September 20, 2014</p>

Brown Booby

Sula leucogaster, Sulidae
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
September 20, 2014

<p><i>Balaenoptera physalus</i>, Balaenopteridae<br />
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
September 20, 2014</p>

Fin Whale

Balaenoptera physalus, Balaenopteridae
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
September 20, 2014

<p><i>Fulmaris glacialis</i>, Procellariidae<br />
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
September 20, 2014</p>

Northern Fulmar

Fulmaris glacialis, Procellariidae
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
September 20, 2014

<p><i>Xema sabini</i>, Laridae<br />
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
September 20, 2014</p>

Flock of Sabine's Gulls

Xema sabini, Laridae
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
September 20, 2014

<p>Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
September 20, 2014</p>

Fishing Boat Feeding Frenzy

Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
September 20, 2014

<p><i>Phoebastria immutabilis</i>, Diomedeidae<br />
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
September 20, 2014</p>

Laysan Albatross

Phoebastria immutabilis, Diomedeidae
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
September 20, 2014

<p><i>Phoebastria nigripes</i>, Diomedeidae<br />
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
September 20, 2014</p>

Black-footed Albatross

Phoebastria nigripes, Diomedeidae
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
September 20, 2014

<p><i>Phoebastria immutabilis</i>, Diomedeidae<br />
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
September 20, 2014</p>

Laysan Albatross

Phoebastria immutabilis, Diomedeidae
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
September 20, 2014

<p>Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
September 20, 2014</p>

Tofino Coastline

Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
September 20, 2014

<p>Inshore Waters, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
September 20, 2014</p>

Lone Cone

Inshore Waters, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
September 20, 2014

<p><i>Orcinus orca</i>, Delphinidae<br />
Inshore Waters, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
September 20, 2014</p>

Orcas

Orcinus orca, Delphinidae
Inshore Waters, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
September 20, 2014

<p>Inshore Waters, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
September 20, 2014</p>

Lennard Island Lighthouse

Inshore Waters, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
September 20, 2014

<p><i>Puffinus griseus</i>, Procellariidae<br />
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
September 20, 2014</p>

Sooty Shearwater

Puffinus griseus, Procellariidae
Pelagic Zone, off Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
September 20, 2014

Last month Sara and I were lucky enough to grab spots on a follow up Pelagic Cruise organized by Russell Canning after the great sightings from the previous weekend. Our skipper for the day was the owner of the Tofino Whale Centre John Forde. We departed from the Tofino docks at around 07:45 in somewhat foggy conditions for our over 7 hour pelagic cruise.

Almost before we left the harbour we saw my first lifer of the day; a group of 30 Herrmann’s Gulls. As we checked the inshore waters we found the expected species such as Pelagic and Brandt’s Cormorants, Common Murres, and Glaucous-winged Gulls. Highlights were some close looks at a group of Black Oystercatchers and a Peregrine Falcon flyby. We did miss the Tufted Puffin seen previously.

After birding the inshore waters, we headed south-west at high speed for 35 km to the Clayoquot Canyon at the edge of the continental shelf. We saw numerous Sooty Shearwaters and Common Murres but no other real birds of note. As soon as we arrived at the canyon the birding picked up quickly as the fog burned off with numerous pelagic species including Albatrosses, Shearwaters, Fulmars and Jaegers and too many lifers to list. Thanks in part to the great eyes of John Reynolds and Christopher Stephens we had some truly rare sightings, like a Brown Booby sitting on a log and the previously mentioned mad chase after the Laysan Albatross. As we worked our way back west along the canyon we caught up with a large aggregation of birds following a fishing boat, where we saw large numbers of all of the more common pelagic species.

In addition to the great birding we were treated to some great views of marine mammals. As one of the goals of our trip to Tofino was to fulfil Sara’s long time dream of seeing a whale (apparently Harbour Porpoises do not count), our pelagic cruise was extremly sucessful in that regard. We saw 3 new species of whale including Orcas, several Humpback Whales, and a Fin Whale. We also saw a good variety of Pinnipeds including Harbour Seals, a California Sea Lion, a Northern Fur Seal, and a Northern Elephant Seal (albeit only briefly during the albatross chase). We also saw a group of Sea Otters and a couple of Sunfish.

Despite the fog, and the chop, and a bit of seasickness it was an awesome first pelagic trip. If anything it may spoil future trips as a point of comparison. We saw a total of 35 bird species with 13 of them being lifers. There were also an additional 9 mammal and 1 fish species. I’ve linked to the ebird checklists for the trip, which are divided into pelagic and inshore sightings. I also have a full list of all mammal and bird sightings in the KMZ file below.



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