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What's been happening in the Channel lately?

Things have been pretty nice out at sea these past few days with great weather and calm winds. Yesterday (9.15.16) we saw a Green Sea Turtle in the shallow waters around Santa Cruz Island. Sea Turtles are a very rare sighting in our area with only a few a year if that. They typically come during the warmest water months, but not always. Right now the water is hovering in the high 60's to low 70's. We also spotted a small blue shark today as it swam down the side of the boat on the ride out. Unfortunately these were flash in the pan sightings and didn't allow for photography and were virtually impossible to relocate.

Jaegers have been very abundant the past week or two with numbers staying pretty consistent each day. Parasitic Jaegers are giving the Elegant Terns near shore quite a bit of grief.

This clean looking adult Parasitic Jaeger was hassling this Elegant Tern just a few miles out of the Ventura Harbor.

We have had quite a variety of Jaegers in all sorts of plumage patrolling the Santa Barbara Channel as of late.

Yesterday (9.15.16) I saw a small bird flying along that didn't fit most typical pelagic bird criteria, and when I caught a glimpse of the small white patches on the trailing wing I figured it was either an Eared Grebe or Horned Grebe returning south for the winter. Today as we left the Ventura Harbor on our second run out to Santa Cruz Island I saw a small pack of ten Eared Grebes at the entrance to the harbor.

Eared Grebes in flight

Whales are around too, we had about five Humpbacks mid-channel today and 1000's of Common Dolphin.

Long-beaked Common Dolphin

Long-beaked Common Dolphin

A few Pink-footed Shearwaters are still cruising offshore, but Black-vented Shearwaters are the dominate tubenose around.

Black-vented Shearwater

Black-vented Shearwater

I'm sure more is to come as fall is just getting underway, and this is usually the most exciting time of year for seabird activity and movement. I'll keep you posted here on what I'm seeing out there.

#parasiticjaeger #eleganttern #CommonDolphin #earedgrebe #elegantternm #pomarinejaeger #BlackventedShearwater

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