In April 2011, I once again arrived on the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge to start another season of seabird research working with PRBO Conservation Science. In my seventh and perhaps last season, I decided to start a photo a day challenge for myself. The challenge is to share a new and interesting photo for each day I am on the island this year.
Okay, we're on a roll with our storm-petrels. We netted again last night and caught yet another unusual visitor. This time it's a subspecies of the Leach's Storm-petrel. We catch Leach's here regularly and we know small numbers of them breed here. Leach's are distinguished from Ashy Storm-petrels by their white rump patch, longer wings, and larger head and bill. We were confused by this little one because it had the while rump of a Leach's but its wing was too short and its head, bill and overall size were smaller than an Ashy. After consulting our books we determined that this was in fact an individual from a subspecies of Leach's that breeds on Guadalupe Island in Mexico! This is the first time we have documented this subspecies on the island and the first time it's been seen this far north in California. Not a bad night!