Tuesday, October 20, 2009

White-chinned Petrel in California!

White-chinned Petrel copyright 2009 by John Sterling.
White-chinned Petrel copyright 2009 by John Sterling. Used with permission. Click photo for larger view.

This past weekend, on October 18, a pelagic trip from Half Moon Bay, California recorded the first California and second North American record of White-chinned Petrel, Procellaria aequinoctialis.

More details can be found on the American Birding Association's blog, Peeps Online.

This large dark petrel is larger and bulkier than a Flesh-footed Shearwater. It has a bill very similar to a Northern Fulmar (not thin as in the shearwaters). But the bird is larger and more long-winged than a fulmar, with a pointed tail. Each of the bill plates of the White-chinned Petrel is outlined in black, and the tip is pale.

There are several photos of this bird by Alvaro Jaramillo and John Sterling (Rare California Birds page).

The similar, but smaller, Parkinson's Petrel, Procellaria parkinsoni, has been reported three times off California (2 photographed) and once off Oregon. See: Rare Seabirds of Oregon.

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