#ABArare - Hawaiian Petrel, Craveri's Murrelets, and Red-footed Booby - California
Last weekend was a good one for California seabirding. On Sep 21, überseabirder Todd McGrath spotted a Hawaiian Petrel (Code 4) during a Shearwater Journeys pelagic trip out of Bodega Bay. Debi Shearwater reports that it was found at the edge of Bodega Canyon, a spot that has produced many rare seabirds over the years. The petrel made a quick pass by the boat. Thanks to McGrath's speedy identification, Trevor Codlin was able to get a few photos before it disappeared.
Further south, the Sea and Sage Audubon Society's annual fall pelagic trip on Sep 22 came across at least two, possibly four, Craveri's Murrelets (Code 3) a few miles offshore of Newport Beach, Orange County. Then on the following day, a private pelagic trip departing from San Diego's Mission Bay found at least six about five to 10 nautical miles offshore. Another six to eight unidentified murrelets were seen in flight, so there could have been as many as 14 Craveri's in this area.
Craveri's Murrelet near Newport Beach, Sep 22. Photo by Thomas A. Benson
Craveri's Murrelets breed on offshore islands in Mexico and irregularly disperse to US waters in summer and early fall. There have been few sightings over the past several years, making these finds more noteworthy.
Craveri's Murrelet near San Diego, Sep 23. Photo by B.J. Stacey
The final goodie from the weekend, a Red-footed Booby (Code 4) was also found on Sep 23 not far from the San Diego Craveri's Murrelets. It was spotted and photographed about three miles west of Mission Bay by Melissa Galieti, the naturalist for San Diego Whale Watch during one of their cruises.
With more pelagics scheduled over the next several weeks, it will be interesting to see what turns up over the next several weeks off the California coast.