White-chinned Petrel, Bodega Bay pelagic, October 2011
This White-chinned Petrel (Procellaria aequinoctialis) was seen over the northwest corner of Cordell Bank in Marin County waters about 29 miles southwest of Bodega Bay and 25 miles west-northwest of Point Reyes (first seen at 38°4'18.121"N, 123°29'12.31"W) on a pelagic trip out of Bodega Bay (Sonoma County), 16 October 2011. It was first spotted by Todd McGrath and Steve Howell as it shot by the boat and into our wake. We turned around and gave chase, and the bird eventually sat down and provided close views for several minutes.
This species breeds on sub-Antarctic islands and is normally found in the Southern Ocean and off the west coast of South America north to Peru. Assuming this record is accepted by the California Bird Records Committee, it will be the fifth accepted record for North America (and the northern hemisphere), and the third for California. The species is rated Vulnerable (to extinction) by BirdLife International, with suspected rapid population declines likely caused by high mortality rates from long-line fishing.