Seasons in the Sea - A month-by-month guide to Central California sea life

Section contents:

Cormorants: Image credit-Mary Hollinger - NOAA


in August

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Diver-at-work symbol (c) Kim Fulton-Bennett This page under construction.
Here are some of the topics that will be covered in this chapter. More text and images will eventually be added to this section. Thank you for your patience.

Seabird events in August:

  • Young pigeon guillemots leave their nests on seacliffs to learn to forage in nearby kelp beds. However, they won't be able fly well for another two or three weeks.
  • Adult common murres and their newly fledged young return to Monterey Bay (especially the northeast corner of the bay) after nesting at Farallones. They join other birds such as cormorants, which nested in the bay during the summer. They apparently gather in the bay to feed on juvenile rockfish (e.g. Sebastes jordani), which are extremely common on Monterey Bay at this time of year. In September, as the juvenile rockfish settle down to the seafloor, common murres will switch to eating market squid. However, after the rigors and thin meals of the breeding season, many murres also die of starvation at this time of year.
  • Other common seabirds in August include brown pelicans, western gulls, Heerman's gulls, Brandt's cormorants, and elegant terns.
  • A few sea birds, such as red-necked phalaropes, Arctic terns, and Sabine's gulls, begin to return to of migrate through the Central Coast after nesting in the Arctic.
  • Long-tailed jaegers, an open-ocean bird, are mostly likely to be seen near shore along the Central Coast in August and September.
  • In August and September, vast flocks of sooty shearwaters move close to shore to feed on schools of anchovies, especially in the inner parts of Monterey Bay and the Gulf of the Farallones. Their feeding frenzies often attract other diving birds, including pelicans, cormorants, gulls, murres, and auklets. During their summers on the California coast, sooty shearwaters stock up on food, increasing their body weights by up to 40 percent.
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