More Craveri’s Murrelets in San Diego County

[All photographs copyright, Gary Nunn 2014] – I decided to try my luck aboard a whale watching trip today 06 July 2014 out of San Diego and did not come away disappointed. A little over a mile outside Point Loma I quickly spotted a subadult Brown Booby Sula leucogaster ahead with many Elegant Terns marking a fish shoal. The booby circled a few times in the distance but never approached closely so photographs are only documentation worthy. An hour or so later, approximately five miles due west of Point Loma, we motored right by two small black-and-white alcids sitting on the water with giveaway small cocked up tails. As they took flight parallel to the boat the dusky blackish marked underwing and black chest side spurs could be easily seen on this pair of Craveri’s Murrelet Synthliboramphus craveri. Not a bad find from a whale watching trip! The underwing of this species is somewhat variable in extent of black markings and these two birds showed one dark and one lighter example. The lighter underwing individual may be in active molt of its wing coverts which might explain the patchy appearance. Certainly they have darker underwings than either Scripps’s or Guadalupe Murrelets and both these species appear very much whiter on the underwing. The “Blue Whale Watching Adventure” lived up to its name too with good looks at 8-10 individuals of this whale species, some at close quarters.

Craveri’s Murrelets – 5 NM west of Point Loma, San Diego County, California 06 July 2014

Craveri’s Murrelets – 5 NM west of Point Loma, San Diego County, California 06 July 2014

Craveri’s Murrelets – 5 NM west of Point Loma, San Diego County, California 06 July 2014

Craveri’s Murrelet – 5 NM west of Point Loma, San Diego County, California 06 July 2014

Craveri’s Murrelet – 5 NM west of Point Loma, San Diego County, California 06 July 2014

Brown Booby – 1.5 NM west of Point Loma, San Diego County, California 06 July 2014

Brown Booby – 1.5 NM west of Point Loma, San Diego County, California 06 July 2014

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