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June 2018 Monthly Report

Bottlenose Dolphin

Bottlenose Dolphin taking in the view

The month of June was all about the Whales and Dolphins. Seabird variety was fairly static during this month and most migrants were already out of the area. One notable exception was this sweet Manx Shearwater.

Manx Shearwater

It buzzed through a group of Sooty Shearwaters while we were hanging out with a Fin Whale near the Anacapa Arch. At this time of year Black-vented Shearwaters are pretty rare so it stood out against the darker Sooties. Later in the month Black-vented Shearwaters started making a push to the north from their breeding islands off of Baja, and became much more common. This is pretty early historically for Black-vents to be this far north but last year they were a year round species. Perhaps with an increasing population there will always be a few outliers in the off season.

Blue Whale

A whole train load of Blue Whales moved into the Santa Barbara Channel in June. Island Packers ran the first few Summer Whale Watches of the year during June and we hit the mother load of activity. I haven't seen it this good in over 10 years. On a few trips we had close to 25 whales all around the boat. Most of them were Blue's but a few Fin Whales too.

Blue Whale

Later in June we finally found the Humpbacks, they were in their typical early summer spot off of the coast of Santa Barbara working with the dolphin to round up fish.

A Humpback cow/calf pair on a synchronized dive

Well I'm going to keep this one short. The birds were not the main show out there in June, but things are about to turn around (literally). I'm already seeing some shorebirds coming back along the coast, and northern breeders are going to be cruising back through our off shore waters any day now. The ocean temperatures are climbing and could hit the low 70's soon. This may encourage all the highly prized southern species to venture up into our area. All just in time for the Island Packers 12 hour Pelagic out of Ventura on July 15th. Last I checked there was only a handful of spaces left. I hope to see some of you out there.

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