Short-tailed Albatross, Bodega Bay pelagic, November 2010
This young Short-tailed Albatross, also known as Steller's Albatross, was seen about 30 miles offshore over the continental shelf edge about half way between Bodega Canyon and Cordell Bank (first spotted at 38°7'55.5"N, 123°34'16.9"W) on a pelagic trip out of Bodega Bay (Sonoma County), 20 November 2010. It was first spotted by Dan Singer as it came into the boat and circled around a couple of times before taking off.
This species, which breeds on small islands near Japan, was on the brink of extinction due to plume hunting, and is listed on the U.S. endangered species list, the IUCN Red List and the Audubon/American Bird Conservancy WatchList (see the links below for more info). However, thanks to conservation efforts, it has been making a slow comeback, with the population now over 2,300 birds. As a result, it is being seen with increasing frequency in California waters, but is still rare enough to have been a lifer for four of the six birders aboard, all veteran seabirders.