As a reminder as to why birders find a way to visit the farthest reaches of the ABA Area, on 13 September 2011 Gail Mackiernan and Barry Cooper discovered more than 25 Providence (Solander’s) Petrels (Pterodroma solandri), a species not currently on the ABA Checklist. The first bird was located a few miles northwest of Attu Island, Alaska, and the last one in the ABA Area was seen as the ship crossed the International Date Line.
Providence Petrel is an endemic to the Tasman Sea where breeding (May) occurs only on Lord Howe and Phillip Islands. Breeding is confined to two mountain tops and one tiny islet, with a population estimated at 100,000 on Lord Howe Island. They disperse northward to central northeast Pacific waters to the Bering Sea, but until now they had been reported only west of the International Date Line.
Providence Petrel is a large tropical Pterodroma with a distinctive long, wedge-shaped tail, long, broad wings, and a stout, long bill (Albatrosses, Petrels & Shearwaters of the World, Onley and Scofield. Although Onley and Scofield state “most recent California records are from June-December…” the species is not listed on the current Checklist of California Birds.
Stay tuned for updates.