Smith Island Tufted Puffins Trip!


We had a great time today on the Puffin Pelagic Trip out of Bellingham, WA. Twelve Canadians that I knew were on board and the boat was sold out with 39 people plus 3 crew. If you would like to book this trip in the future please click HERE

The trip started off great from the beginning when Peter Candido (view his great blog HERE)  spotted an adult Green Heron fishing from the sea at the Alaska Ferry Terminal in Bellingham.


We ended up seeing 20 Tufted Puffins in the water around the breeding colony at Smith Island. You can't go right up to the island since it is a protected marine reserve and the water is shallow around the island plus the birds burrows are at the top of the island where it is hard to see in.

We ended up seeing some other unexpected birds including an adult Long-tailed Jaeger and Ancient Murrelet that Ilya Povalyaev spotted from the bow. Both of these birds are early for the area.

We saw how close these birds are to Victoria and probably these are the birds frequently seen flying by Clover Point as they travel to feed to and from their colony.

We ended up going to Lopez Island and seeing some Marbled Murrelets and a Pigeon Guillemot colony as well.

Here is a list of birds and mammals we saw during the pelagic trip. The Puffins were definitely the highlight and seeing so many close to the boat in breeding plumage so close to Vancouver was a real treat! It was truly a great day in the sunshine with great people!

Green Heron (at dock)
Long-tailed Jaeger (Adult)
Whimbrel
Belted Kingfisher
20 Tufted Puffins
Red-necked Phalaropes
Ancient Murrelet (1)
Surf Scoters
Marbled Murrelets
Harlequin Ducks
Surfbirds
Black Oystercatchers
Pigeon Guillemots
Common Murres
Rhinoceros Auklets
Caspian Terns
Bald Eagle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Greater Yellowegs
Sanderlings
Black-bellied Plover
Turkey vulture
Pelagic Cormorants
Heermann's Gulls
California Gull
Glaucous-winged Gulls and chicks
Brandt's Cormorants

Mammals:
Harbour Porpoises
Harbour Seals

Here are a couple of photos I got of the Puffins:
 
Tufted Puffins at Smith Island, WA - Photos: Melissa Hafting

Record shot I got of the Ancient Murrelet - Photo: Melissa Hafting



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