#ABArare - Fea's Petrel - South Carolina
Shortly after New York got it's first photo-documented and potential first state record Fea's Petrel (Code 3), South Carolina (or maybe Georgia -- see below) joined the club when a pelagic trip out of Charleston found and photographed a Fea's on June 22. It was about 84 miles southeast of Kiawah Island, SC over the "Big Thumb" of the Charleston Bump.
photo by Nate Dias
In his report to Seabird News, trip organizer Nate Dias mentioned that the location of this sighting could be considered as either being in South Carolina or Georgia, depending on where the at-sea boundary line is drawn. If an east-west boundary line is used, this petrel would have been in Georgia waters, but using the closest point of land rule (which is used by many states and eBird), it would have been in South Carolina.
For the purposes of writing the title of this post, I used the closest point of land rule. Dias mentioned to me that the state committees may end up adopting a boundary that's between the east-west line and the closest point of land rule. The boundary would be based on that found in the existing state charters and the Treaty of Beaufort. Dias describes the new boundary: "So essentially, from the midpoint of a line connecting the outermost points of Hilton Head and Tybee Island: draw a line bearing 104 degrees and that is the offshore state boundary, out to the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone boundary." Dias reports that the Fea's would have been on the South Carolina side of this new boundary line.
Fea's Petrel (nor Fea's/Zino's Petrel) is not on the official list of either state, but there is a previous report from Georgia. On November 9, 1984, Christopher Haney and Craig Faanes (Haney et al. 1993) observed a probable Fea's Petrel approximately 145 km due east of St. Catherine's Island, Georgia. However, apparently no report was ever submitted to the Georgia committee, and it was never voted upon. Haney photographed the bird, but the photo has since been lost.
Haney, J. C., C. A. Faanes, and W. R. P. Bourne. 1993. An observation of Fea’s Petrel
(Pterodroma feae) off the southeastern United States, with comments on the taxonomy
and conservation of the Soft-plumaged and related petrels in the Atlantic Ocean.
Brimleyana 18: 115-124.