Wilson’s Storm-Petrel Rare off the California coast late summer and fall. Annual in small numbers off Monterey, less frequent in SoCal (McGrath & Feenstra, 2005). One seen at Cherry Banks on an LA Audubon trip September 6, 2003. One seen 80 km s. of San Clemente Island 31 July 2005 (NAB, McCaskie & Garrett).
2008: One seen from Searcher at the Sixty Mile Bank 4 Sep (NAB, McCaskie & Garret).
2009: One from Condor Express off Santa Barbara 25 Jul. One from Grande off San Diego 24 Aug. An unprecendeted 80 with 1500 Ashy, 300 Black and 100 Least Storm-Petrels were reported 11 Sep by a NOAA ship 53 km sw of Pt Buchon San Luis Obispo 11 Sep (NAB, McCaskie & Garret).
2010: One 21 km w of Pt Loma San Diego 3 & 6 Sep (NAB, McCaskie and Garrett). One from Grande3 Oct, probably the same bird from Searcher6 Sep at the Nine Mile.
Wilson's Storm-Petrel (c) Glen Tepke
Wilson's Storm-Petrel (c) Glen Tepke
Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel Rare off SoCal but occasionally irruptive.
2003: One seen at Cortes Bank on an LA Audubon trip September 6.
2006: 7 recorded 24 April off Santa Barbara from Condor Express. One found dead near Oceanside 11 May (NAB, McCaskie & Garrett). 7 recorded from Searcher April 27-29: 2 in the Channel Islands, 4 at the San Juan Seamount and 1 at the Cortez Bank (NAB, McCaskie & Garrett).
2008: One salvaged at the San Mateo Creek mouth San Diego 23 Apr (NAB, McCaskie & Garrett).
2009: One recorded 4 Nov by a NOAA research ship 21 n mi west of Punta Santo Tomas - approx 60 miles south of San Diego in Mexican waters. (NAB, Erickson, et al).
Leach’s Storm-Petrel Common April – October, usually well offshore (McGrath & Feenstra, 2005)
2008: 117 from Searcher deep-water pelagic 4-5 Jun. 200 from Grande deep-water pelagic 20 Jul. 218 from Searcher deep-water pelagic 3-4 Sep. 5 chapmani in deep water 5 Oct from Grande. 30 from Grande deep-water pelagic 2 Nov.
2009: 62 from Grande deep-water pelagic 10 May. 178 from Condor Express deep-water pelagic 25 Jul. 108 from Grande deep-water pelagic 25 Aug. 660 from Searcher deep-water pelagic 7-11 Sep included 640 "Chapman's" chapmani and 13 "Townsend's" soccorinsis.
2010: 3 from Condor Express May 1. 86 from Grande May 15-17 including 10 Chapman's. 205 from Searcher May 29-31. 305 from Condor Express Jun 12. 185 from Condor Express Jul 31. 138 at Nine Mile Bank 7 Aug (NAB, McCaskie & Garrett). 90 from Grande Aug 16-17. 220 from Grande Aug 16-17. 353 from Searcher Sep 8-9 including 127 "Chapman's" chapmani and 2 "Townsend's" soccorinsis. 79 from Grande Oct 2-4. 1 white-rumped in heavy molt from Grande Oct 9 on the Thirty Mile Bank.
2011: 40 seen from Searcher May 28-30 between the Los Coronados Islands and San Clemente Island of which 20 were of the nominate and 11 were Chapman's.
NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS: Occurrence and identification of the Leach’s Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma leucorhoa) complex off southern California (click the PDF icon at the right)
Leach's Storm-Petrel (c) Dave Pereksta
Leach's Storm-Petrel (c) Greg Gillson
Ashy Storm-Petrel One of the rarest storm-petrels in the world - total population possibly under 10,000 (Unitt, 2004). Endemic to California and Baja, Mexico waters (Sullivan, 2005). The small, possibly ephemeral colony on Los Coronados Islands is the only one south of the Mexican border; San Diego County is thus marginal to the Ashy Storm-Petrel's range (Unitt, 2004). Fairly common April – October in the northern Channel Islands (McGrath & Feenstra, 2005). Scarce offshore San Diego.
2007: 2 from Condor Express 21 Apr (eBird). Sixty 40 km w. of San Diego 18 Aug (NAB, McCaskie & Garrett). 11 on 8 Sep (Feenstra, CalBirds).
2008: 3 offshore San Diego 26 Jul (Povey, SDBirds). Three at Thirty Mile Bank 28 Aug (Povey, SDBirds). Seven from Searcher2-4 Sep. One at the Butterfly Bank 5 Oct. One at Nine Mile Bank 13 Oct (Povey, SDBirds).
2009: 40 around the Channel Islands 16 May. Two from Grande off San Diego 9-10 May. 4 off San Diego 21 May. 2 off San Diego 29 May. 2 off San Diego 9 Jul. One from Condor Express25 Jul. 2 off San Diego 14 Aug. 3 from Grande24-25 Aug. 1500 Ashy, 300 Black, 80 Wilson's and 100 Least Storm-Petrels were reported 11 Sep by a NOAA ship 53 km sw of Pt Buchon, San Luis Obispo 11 Sep (NAB, McCaskie & Garret). One off San Diego 23 Sep. 7 from Condor Express15 Nov.
2010: 6 from Condor Express on May 1. 5 from Grande on May 15-16. 39 from Condor Express Jun 12. One at Nine Mile Jul 18 (Dave Povey). 68 from Condor Express Jul 31. 13 from Grande Aug 16-17. 49 from Searcher Sep 7. 3 from Grande Oct 2-4. 13 from Grande Oct 9. No storm-petrels seen Nov 13 from Grande.
2011: 13 were seen between Santa Barbara and the Rodriguez Dome from the Condor Express on Apr 30. One seen from Searcher May 28-30 between the Los Coronados Islands and San Clemente Island.
Ashy Storm-Petrel (c) Brian Sullivan
Ashy Storm-Petrel (c) Glen Tepke
Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrel Records 23 Jul - 9 Oct. Breeds on the Galapagos Islands and is sometimes called the Galapagos Storm-Petrel. The species' normal range at sea is limited to tropical waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean north to waters off Baja California Sur. California's first Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrel was found on 21 Jan 1969 in a backyard in Carmel. Six more accepted records have followed, all from Monterey Bay southward during what seems to be a post-breeding-season dispersal period (23 Jul - 9 Oct). Many records are not accepted due to the difficulty of positive identification. Six non-accepted records in SoCal (3 in May, one in Aug, 1 in Sep, 1 in Oct) are in the deep waters traveled by Searcher Pelagic Expeditions and Grande Weekend Overnight trips.
2010 One seen from Grande 2 Oct at the Thirty Mile Bank in with rafts of 10,000 Storm-Petrels (7000 Leasts and 3000 Blacks) midway between San Diego and San Clemente Island in Los Angeles waters (NAB, McCaskie and Garrett).
Black Storm-Petrel Common visitor April – October, our most commonly seen storm-petrel (McGrath & Feenstra, 2005). 560 visible from the Newport Beach pier 28 Jul 2006 (NAB, McCaskie & Garrett).
2007: Six off San Diego 24 Jun (Povey, SDBirds). On 18 Aug 1000 were 40 km offshore San Diego (NAB, McCaskie & Garrett). 96 between offshore San Diego 22 Aug (Povey, SDBirds). 278 off San Diego 4 Sep (Povey, SDBirds).
2008: 430 off San Diego 10 May from Grande. 90 from Searcher2-5 Jun. 125 off San Diego 26 Jul (Povey, SDBirds). 73 off San Diego 23 Aug (Povey, SDBirds). 170 off San Diego 28 Aug (Povey, SDBirds). 291 from Searcher1-4 Sep. 6 from Grande at the Butterfly Bank 4-5 Oct. 6 from Grande on 4 Oct. 13 off San Diego 13 Oct (Povey, SDBirds). No further reports off San Diego for the remainder of the year.
2009: 154 off San Diego from Grande9 May was first record of the season. 700 from Grande21 May. 200 from Grande29 May. 2000 at Nine Mile Bank 12 Jun. 1370 off San Diego 16 Jun. 106 off San Diego 9 Jul. 219 off San Diego 14 Aug. 250 from Grande 24 Aug. 97 from Searcher7-11 Sep. 400 off San Diego 23 Sep. 700 from Grande3 Oct. 8000 from Grande10-11 Oct. No further reports off San Diego for the remainder of the year.
2010: 11 from Grand Apr 17. 2529 from Grande May 16-17. 186 from Searcher May 29-31. 62 from Condor Express Jun 12. 546 from Grande Aug 16-17. 700 on Nine Mile Bank Aug 25 and 900 on Aug 31 (Dave Povey). 600 from Searcher Sep 6-9. 1623 at the Thirty Mile Bank Sep 25 (Dave Povey). 2000 at the Thirty Mile from Grande Oct 4. 3130 from Grande at the Thirty Mile Oct 9. Zero storm-petrels seen on Nov 13 to Nine Mile Bank on Grande. See also NAB, McCaskie and Garrett.
2011: 700 were seen near the Nine Mile Bank off San Diego on May 6. 1545 were reported between the Nine Mile Bank and Thirty Mile Bank San Diego from Grande May 14. 183 seen from Searcher May 28-30 between the Los Coronados Islands and San Clemente Island.
Black Storm-Petrels (c) Tom Blackman
Least Storm-Petrel Irregularly rare to fairly common August – October when a few are usually present in the southern part of our region (McGrath & Feenstra, 2005).
2007: 13 between San Diego and Los Coronados Islands 22 Aug 2007 (Povey, SDBirds). 37 off San Diego 4 Sep (Povey, SDBirds).
2008: 4 from Searcher 1-4 Sep. 4 at Nine Mile Bank off San Diego 12 Oct (SDBirds; NAB, McCaskie & Garret)), 10 at the Nine Mile Bank 16 Sep 2008 (Povey, SDBirds; NAB, McCaskie & Garret). 4 at the 14-Mile Bank off Dana Point 20 Sep (NAB, McCaskie & Garret). 4 off San Diego 13 Oct (Povey, SDBirds).
2009: 30 from Searcher 7 Sep. 2 from Searcher at the Butterfly Bank 11 Sep. 100 reported 11 Sep by a NOAA ship 53 km sw of Pt Buchon San Luis Obispo 11 Sep (NAB, McCaskie & Garret). 800 off San Diego 23 Sep. 1200 off San Diego from Grande 3 Oct. 1700 from Grande 10 Oct.
2010: 25 from Grande in San Diego waters Aug 16. 15 from Searcher 6 Sep. 3000 from Grande 2 Oct. 6088 at the Thirty Mile Bank Sep 25 (Dave Povey). 3000 at the Thirty Mile Oct 2 from Grande. 7000 at the Thirty Mile from Grande Oct 9. See also NAB, McCaskie and Garrett.
Ringed (Hornby's) Storm-Petrel
Ringed (Hornby’s) Storm-Petrel The first and only North American record was well photographed on 2 Aug 2005 about 40 km ssw of Santa Rosa Island (McCaskie & Garrett, 2006).
Tristram’s Storm-Petrel One captured and photographed on Southeast Farallon Island San Francisco 22 April 2007. One seen on a Los Angeles Audubon pelagic charter at the Cortez Ridge off Santa Rosa Island 21 Jul 2007 by Todd McGrath, S. N.G. Howell, et. al. (Feenstra, 9 Aug 2007).
Many sightings contain hyperlinks tied directly to detailed Trip Reports. More frequent sightings may not contain hyperlinks, but still have detailed trip reports with more documentation and locations; click on Trip Reports in the left column.
NAB, Erickson, et al: North American Birds - Baja Mexico reports, edited by Erickson, et al. Published quarterly by the American Birding Association.
NAB, McCaskie & Garrett: North American Birds - Southern California reports, edited by Guy McCaskie and Kimball Garrett. Published quarterly by the American Birding Association.
Status and distribution data (c) 2008 - 2011 W. Terry Hunefeld
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