Date: 9/5/17 8:45 pm From: Gary Nunn <garybnunn...> [SanDiegoRegionBirding] <SanDiegoRegionBirding-noreply...> Subject: [SanDiegoRegionBirding] La Jolla – Least Storm-Petrel (!), jaegers, Sep 05, 2017
I took a later afternoon/early evening seawatch from La Jolla hoping to come across a fancy shearwater or something. Well while scoping two Black-vented Shearwater passing south I caught sight of a tiny all dark storm-petrel in the close foregorund of my scope view! Thank goodness for these wide-angle eye-pieces! Just perfect looks at a LEAST STORM-PETREL working its way south between inner and outer kelp beds. A tapered shaved off looking rear end and nugget like head, strong on the wing just darting along the surface. Occasional switchbacks to investigate items on the water surface. It seemed to be in two modes, darting around over one spot or powerful fast lengths before the next switchback stop. The small size and closeness to the water surface made it pop up and down in view as it moved forward south over the disorganized wind waves. The wings, and on-off fast bat like flapping, actually looked like a tiny sped up Black Storm-Petrel from the view, but the almost neckless head and shaved off looking rear end not like that species at all.
A few jaegers passed south, two Parasitic close, a Pomarine middle distance, with nice spoons showing, and one small jaeger reasonably close but silhouetted never going below the horizon. Again I suspect this might have been a Long-tailed, smaller sized, fine wings, bouncing body in flight. Impossible to see any primary shaft coloration in the light conditions however. Early morning is the best option for proof-of-life photos of this species in La Jolla, with the sun behind you, and you are lucky enough to get one pass close for photography.
There were some shearwaters, I counted about 50 Black-vented, 1 Pink-footed, and 4 Sooty. All on a fast clip southward.
-- Gary Nunn *you can find me on twitter, *@garybnunn