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#ABArare – Wedge-tailed Shearwater – California

I will probably have to adjust how I approach #ABArare with the inclusion of Hawaii, and an ABA Code 4 (currently) Wedge-tailed Shearwater is one of the reasons why. A pelagic trip led by Alvaro Jaramillo out of Half Moon Bay, San Mateo, California, found one just offshore this past weekend. The bird was even seen by some birders from shore. This the 11th ABA Continental record.

With the ABA Area’s inclusion of Hawaii, Wedge-tailed Shearwater is a breeding bird in the ABA Area now. They nest on three islands in the Hawaiian archipelago, Kaua’i, O’ahu, and Mānana, as well as may others in the south Pacific and Australia, and on Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. There is also a population that breeds on Isla San Benedicto off the Pacific Coast of Mexico.

Wedge-tailed Shearwater is only one of what are a handful or primarily pelagic species that are regular on the Hawaiian Islands but quite rarely encountered on the North American mainland. In these #ABArare posts I will continue to note those species when they occur, as birders on both coasts are likely still interested in hearing about them.

All that considered, however, it is worth nothing that this bird is a dark-morph Wedge-tailed Shearwater, whereas Hawaiian breeding populations (and most ABA Continental records) are of light-morph birds. This could mean that it could come wither from the Mexican-breeding population, or from one of the populations that breeds in the southern hemisphere.

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Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.
Nate Swick

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  • Ryan Merrill

    How can all but one of the ABA Continental records be from California when Washington has two records? I believe there are a couple records from Oregon as well…

    • My mistake. I overlooked those. I’ve removed the statement.

      • Joshua Glant

        Also the record from Arizona last fall!

  • Alvaro Jaramillo

    Hey, I just saw this! I am out of it. Wow, we made it to the rare birds blog. One addition, several folks looked from shore but they did not actually see it, only the birders on the boat saw it. As we were trying to re-find it and everyone was focused, when it came through and gave us the close fly by look…everyone on the boat saw it well! We had gone through the features to look for, everyone was primed. Totally unexpected, particularly right at the beach!!!!

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