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#ABArare – White-chinned Petrel – California

Debi Shearwater’s boats out of California have had a great run lately, with a mystery Bulweria (or Pseudobulweria?) earlier this week (more on that one when more information is available) and an ABA Code 5 White-chinned Petrel seen on the trip out of Half Moon Bay, California, on 9/15. This would likely be the 5th confirmed record of the species in the ABA-Area, though at least two other accounts of this species were not accepted by the relevant state committees.

Photo by Roy Zimmerman

Photo by Roy Zimmerman

Photo by Doug Koch

Photo by Doug Koch

White-chinned Petrel is a member of the genus Procellaria, a group of large, heavy-bodied petrels of the southern oceans. White-chinned Petrel nests on sub-Antarctic Islands in the South Atlantic ocean and generally occurs in the cooler waters around South America.

As mentioned above, there are four previous accepted records for the species in the ABA Area, three of which come from California, all in fall (San Mateo 2009, Santa Barbara 2011, Marin 2011). The fourth was a late summer record from Maine, August of 2010.

Two additional, but unaccepted, accounts are worth considering as well. A moribund bird in Galveston, Texas, in 1986 was not accepted because of concerns it wither fell from a ship or was actively assisted into the Gulf of Mexico from a ship, though there was no doubt about the identification. Two additional sightings of what was likely the same bird seen on two non-consecutive days off North Carolina in October 1996 were not accepted because other Procelleria was not adequately eliminated.

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