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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Pearl gray

I'm so thankful to Dea for alerting me to the presence of some Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels (Oceanodroma furcata) at the entrance to Bodega Harbor yesterday (10 May 2017).  Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels are small (~8.5 inches long) and fast, and therefore hard to photograph, but I'm excited to share a few photos for the record.  [Click on the images for slightly larger and sharper versions.]

Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels are usually found farther offshore, so watching them from land was a real treat.  The storm-petrels were feeding very close to shoresometimes flying right along the edge of the jetty.

I was standing on the North Jetty (at the end of Doran Beach).  The next image shows a storm-petrel flying over the South Jetty with Bodega Head in the background:

Sometimes the storm-petrels would fly low to the water and start foot-pattering on the surface:

And sometimes they'd land on the water and reach for prey:

On several occasions they appeared to catch small fish:

The storm-petrels were so close, it was a great opportunity to study their feathers:

I didn't get many photos that show their forked tails very well, but here's one as this storm-petrel flew along the South Jetty:

I heard that a few storm-petrels were still around today near the entrance to the harbor.  If you're interested in looking for them, they also might be visible from the southern end of Bodega Head.

P.S.  Thanks again to Dea for letting me know the storm-petrels had appeared.  I never thought I'd be "buzzed" by a Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel while standing on the jetty!


Jim said...

Beautiful pictures ( as always ! ), Jackie !

Jackie Sones said...

Thanks, Jim! I tried! The storm-petrels are really fast flyers, and my lens isn't quite fast enough, but it was so much fun to spend a little time with them and to give it a shot.

:) Jackie

Alice Chan said...

Thank you so much for this interesting series of photos! Wow!

Alexandra said...

The storm petrels were a special treat for us landlubbers! Alexandra

Jackie Sones said...

Yes, this was a special opportunity to see these pelagic seabirds from land. We see them far offshore (~20 miles or so) near Bodega Canyon and Cordell Bank during boat trips in the fall, but this is the first time I've seen Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels with my feet on solid ground. A real treat!