The morning was cloudy and the 10 participants that left from the Prat dock at Valparaiso were surprised because of the way our little boat kept moving from side to side in the sea swell without even having left the pier of Valparaiso. But one of the crew told us just to relax and enjoy the grey day with many birds and probably some big surprises.
Soon after leaving the harbour Dominican and Grey Gulls followed our boat while Sooty shearwaters in numbers of several hundred began to fly around us in a chaotic wandering among the big waves that were seen on the horizon. Contrary to what had happened in the past trips, Black-browed and a smaller number of Salvin´s Albatrosses, were seen nearer to the coast than usual.
The beginning of the launch of the bait always marks the arrival of many birds, not only seagulls and Pelicans but also a large number of White-chinned Petrels and the first Pink-footed Shearwaters coming from their journey from the northern hemisphere.
In the distance, one of the biggest albatrosses could be seen. Timid as usual and with his white pointed tail was a Northern Royal Albatross, always flying away from the boat,but this did not stop us from making good sightings of the bird.
As always, it seems that the surprises are made to wait until near the the end of the voyage. The first was a Buller´s Albatross, an adult showing its black and yellow beak that allowed us to see and photograph it for long periods and this was joined by another individual that we could clearly distinguish from the other because of the subdued markings on the dorsal side of the wings.
If this was not good enough soon we saw a white gull with a forked tail coming at us from above for a few moments and that we were able to clearly identify as a Galapagos Gull which is a rare species to find off the coast of central Chile.
Humboldt penguin (Spheniscus humboldti): 1 Salvin's albatross (Thalassarche salvini): 15 Buller's Albatross (Thalassarche bulleri): 2 Black-browed Albatross (Thalassarche melanophris): 35 Northern Royal Albatross (Diomedea epomophora): 2 Southern Giant-Petrel (Macronectes giganteus): 2 Northern Giant-Petrel (Macronectes halli): 1 Cape Petrel (Daption capense): 15 White-chinned Petrel (Procellaria equinoctialis): 200 Westland petrel (Procellaria westlandica): 2 Sooty shearwater (Ardenna grisea): 200 Pink-legged shearwater (Puffinus creatopus): 8 Peruvian Diving Petrel (Pelecanoides garnotii): 7 Wilson's Storm Petrel (Oceanites oceanicus): 3 Peruvian Booby (Sula variegata): 30 Neotropic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus): 4 Red-legged cormorant (Phalacrocorax gaimardi): 5 Guanay Cormorant (Phalacrocorax bougainvillii): 40 Peruvian Pelican (Pelecanus thagus): 30 Black crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax): 1 Chilean Skua (Stercorarius chilensis): 5 Swallow-tailed gull (Creagrus furcatus):1 Brown-hoode gull (Chroicocephalus maculipennis): 1 Grey Gull (Leucophaeus modestus): 15 Kelp gull (Larus dominicanus): 330 Inca Tern (Larosterna inca): 8 South American tern (Sterna hirundinacea): 5