Morro Coast Audubon Society (MCAS) Seabird Study Boat trip --
Pacific Horizon Boat, out of Avila (Port San Luis) to Estero Bay, CA --  Oct. 26, 2005

Event Description: Morro Coast Audubon Society, in partnership with Cal Poly State University and the Marine Interest Group (MIG) invited the public out on a Pelagic Boat Trip to observe a seabird study conducted by graduate student Katie Gordon... designed to identify species and qualify abundance of the ocean birds that come to the waters of Estero Bay.  Our guide and outing organizer, Kara Hagedorn, shared natural history information and helped with the bird and marine mammal identification on this full day ocean adventure. 
Photos by Mike Baird - click thumbnails below to enlarge (taken with a Canon 20D w/ 100-400 IS Canon lens, some taken with polarizing filter). 
Note: Shown frequently below are multiple photos of the same individual animal. 
Also, the photo collection below is not intended in any way to represent the totality of the observations made --
I have just included some random photos that I was able get from my vantage point.

Corrections and clarifications are always appreciated - please e-mail any comments to mike at and include "ignorefilters" somewhere in the subject line. 


As 15 of us left Port San Luis (Avila, CA) on the boat Pacific Horizon
at 6:30 AM on Oct. 26, 2005, a killer sunrise started our day

We immediately saw this Humpback whale

Followed by some Bottlenose Dolphins (ID thanks to Marlin Harms and Brad Schram)

and many playful Sea Lions all along the way

interspersed  by several California Sea Otters

Leaders (L-R) Kara Hagedorn and Katie Gordon explained the scientific process,
and conducted species identification, along with

expert birders (L-R) Brad Schram and Maggie Smith

while several other participants, including (L-R) Sylvia Rosenberg,
Barbara Akle, and Donna
O'Shaughnessy, assisted by recording data, etc. 

David Sneed, who covers environmental issues for the
The Tribune - covered this event with his associate, photographer Jayson Mellom (not shown).
David wrote a nice article about this event which was published in The tribune on Nov., 1, 2005
which now (11-1-05 PM) is accompanied by five

Of the approximately 24 birds species identified this day...

Brandt's Cormorants were seen in abundance, along with one or more of the:

Common Loon        Pigeon Guillemot

Western Grebe

Brown Pelican     Gulls with a Brown Pelican on a kelp float

We passed by Morro Rock and had a unique view of the "Nine Sister" Morros lined up

Here is a list of the species observed, courtesy of Kara Hagedorn:
MCAS-CAL-POLY Seabird Study Trip -- Date: 10-26-05
Conditions: Clear, calm, slight wind, 70 degrees
Bird and Mammal Checklist
(corrected 11-4-05)

Birds Species Observed (24)
Red-throated Loon
Pacific Loon
Common Loon
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Clark’s Grebe
Brown Pelican
Brandt’s Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Surf Scoter
Parasitic Jaeger
Pomarine Jaeger
Herring Gull
California Gull
Western Gull
Heermann’s Gull
Mew Gull
Bonaparte’s Gull
Caspian Tern
Royal Tern
Elegant Tern
Common Murre
Pigeon Guillemot

Mammal Species Observed (6)
Humpback Whale
Bottlenose Dolphin
Harbor Seal
California Sea Lion
California Sea Otter home home home