Finally I got to see PARAKEET AUKLETS !

I had originally booked my annual Spring pelagic trip for March 20th. My friend Mark Wynja persuaded me to keep it going even when I didn't really feel like doing one this year, after my mom died. I am glad I booked it now. Due to poor storm weather the trip got rescheduled to April 10th.

My main goal was to get Parakeet Auklet. I’ve done well on pelagics on my annual trips getting great birds like Short-tailed Albatross 3 times, Laysan Albatross, Guadalupe Murrelet, Manx Shearwater, Scripps’s Murrelets, Flesh-footed Shearwater, Short-tailed Shearwater, all the Skuas and regularly occurring gulls, terns and storm-petrels, puffins and Brown Booby. One bird that had eluded me and is actually the reason I first started doing Spring pelagic trips was Parakeet Auklet! It is a bird I really desired as a lifer. They are so cute and are always passing through our waters in winter, before they head back up to Alaska and Siberia to breed.

The weather was sunny and beautiful but with a choppy 2-3m swell. I felt it would be super tough to see a tiny alcid in these conditions. Amazingly no one got sick.

It was super tough but as we made it out to the canyon. Mike Toochin spotted two. They picked up quickly and only Ilya got on them. Then myself, Yousif Attia and Jack Bindernagel spotted two that Doug and Ilya got on and as we tried to get others on them they quickly disappeared behind the waves. Then captain Ron spotted one alone on the water right by the boat. This lone bird gave everyone on board great views and even photos! We only saw 1 Cassin’s Auklet (I’m guessing due to the swell but it was very bizarre).

1 of 5 Parakeet Auklets offshore from Tofino, BC - Photos: Melissa Hafting

We made it out to a fishing trawler (that was actively fishing) and saw hundreds of Black-footed Albatross. We estimated 300! We also had 2 Laysan Albatross that Yousif Attia spotted. There might of been 3 but we only saw 2 sit down together. We were surprised that with 300 Black-footed Albatross there was no Short-tailed! We looked very hard and are certain one was not present. There were Northern Fulmars and Sooty Shearwaters present as well.

2 Layson Albatross at Clayoquot Canyon - Photo: Melissa Hafting

    Fishing Trawler that brought in all the pelagic birds at Clayoquot Canyon - Photo: Melissa Hafting

After this, Mike Toochin also spotted 1 Red Phalarope and a Red-necked Phalarope. There was also a third one that was too distant for any of us to identify.

On the way back in but still near Clayoquot Canyon, Ilya Povalyaev and Yousif Attia spotted a Manx Shearwater. We usually get these closer to shore like around Cleland Island. It went zipping by so no photo but those who saw, it including myself, could see an all white vent and black back diagnostic of this species.

Usually on these trips we see good cetaceans. We have had Risso’s Dolphins, Northern Right-whale Dolphins, Fin Whales, Gray Whales, Orcas and Humpbacks. This time the best we could do was Northern Fur Seals, Steller’s Sea Lions and Sea otters.

The waves were choppy but everyone on board was happy and got lifers and great views. It was a great pelagic with great people and a beautiful day to be out on the water.  There was 3 people on board for whom it was their first pelagic. We also had one young birder who was just so happy about all his new lifers. Seeing people get their first pelagic birds and the joy it brings them really sends me.

Looking forward to my next one! Thanks to everyone who joined me! 

This was ABA bird (including Hawaii) 780 and BC Bird 446. 


  1. Congratulations!! What a great find, especially in conditions like that.
    Btw, I hope the hawaii trip was everything you hoped it would be.

    1. thanks ken wish you were with us. this march trip was booked up a year in advance. hawaii was wonderful im working on a trip report to come soon my friend.

  2. Thank you for the invite Mel. Loved the the three lifers on this one.

    1. So welcome was so nice having you and Carli with us! Congrats on your 3 lifers my friend


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