North American Birds

VOLUME 69 NO3 2016

A Quarterly Journal of Ornithological Record Published by the American Birding Association. The mission of the journal is to provide a complete overview of the changing panorama of our continent’s birdlife.

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339 V O L U M E 6 9 ( 2 0 1 6 ) • N U M B E R S 3 / 4 P E L A G I C B I R D S F R O M C R U I S E S H I P S A LO N G T H E PA C I F I C C O A S T Curry, OR 21 Sep 2015 and 220 off Oregon 16 Dec 2015. HORNED PUFFIN (Fratercula corniculata) Rare spring visitor, mostly well offshore. Sight- ings south of Alaska included 2 birds ca. 55 km west of Calvert Island, Queen Charlotte Sound, BC 13 May 2011; singles ca. 80 km off Humboldt, CA and ca. 75 km off Douglas, OR 17 Apr 2012; 2 together 96 km southwest of the northern end of Vancouver Island 26 May 2014; a total of 3 ca. 218 km off northern Van - couver Island 14 May 2015; and 1 ca. 103 km south-southeast of southern Haida Gwaii 18 May 2016. Small numbers are thought to nest, at least formerly (?), on islets off the northern tip of Vancouver Island, the species' southern - most nest site; its breeding status on Haida Gwaii is uncertain (Campbell et al. 1990b). Closer to land and farther south, 1 was seen 25 km south of Santa Rosa Island, Santa Barbara, CA (33.67° N, 120.10° W) 2 May 2013. TUFTED PUFFIN (Fratercula cirrhata) Tufted Puffin is a fairly common breeder in southeastern Alaska and northern British Co - lumbia; uncommon breeder and spring and summer visitor from southern British Colum - bia south to waters adjacent to the Farallon and a single 48 km west of Cape Mendocino, Humboldt (40.43 ° N , 124.9 ° W) 26 Oct 2012. In late fall, 1 was 89 km off Grayland, Grays Harbor 2 Dec 2015. Unfortunately, the total number of reports and published records of Parakeet Auklets at all seasons from cruise ships probably exceeds the actual number of accurate sightings—the result of often tricky identifications given dis - tance, angle, and lighting conditions. Cassin's and Rhinoceros Auklets looking especially contrasty (combined with the orangish bill color of many Rhinoceros) are the culprits. It is virtually impossible, however, to determine which records are suspect, including some of the ones listed here. LEAST AUKLET (Aethia pusilla) Accidental. An adult was with Cassin's Auk - lets 108 km northwest of northern end Van- couver Island (76 km northwest of Sartine Is- land), BC (51.29 ° N , 129.73 ° W) 6 Jun 2013, establishing the second provincial record. [CRESTED AUKLET (Aethia cristatella) One bird was reported off Oregon 14 May 2012. The record has not been submitted to the Oregon Bird Records Committee. RHINOCEROS AUKLET (Cerorhinca monocerata) Fairly common to common over inshore wa - ters during the nesting season, this species may be most numerous in waters beyond the continental shelf at other times of the year. It peaks off California during December and January (Ainley 1976) or February to March (Briggs et al. 1987), whereas off British Co - lumbia the most birds are noted April through August, and mostly over the outer shelf and slope (Kenyon et al. 2009). As breeding com - mences, inshore counts from cruise ships during late April and May between Califor - nia and Washington reached 200-375/day; whereas near the shelf edge double digits were typical. A total of 523 between Curry, OR and Pacific, WA 2 Apr 2016 was a high count. In late spring and summer, this species is most numerous off British Columbia and Washington, where a common breeder: 675 were off southern Haida Gwaii and northern Vancouver Island 5 Aug 2013, and 450 were there 26 May 2014. Off southeastern Alaska, 300 were between Chatham Strait and off Forrester Island 6 Aug 2015. In fall and early winter, cruise maxima in waters near the shelf edge included 528 off well off Oregon and California at this season. Highs were only 282 off Oregon 29 Sep 2008 and 145 between San Francisco and San Luis Obispo 17 Dec 2015. Cassin's Auklets are closely tied to krill distribution, and it is pos - sible that cruise tracks failed to pass through krill swarms, especially during warmer water conditions, which tend to disperse the krill (P. Pyle, in litt.). PARAKEET AUKLET (Aethia psittacula) Most likely to be found during late winter and spring (January–early May), when a rare, occasionally uncommon, and irregu - lar visitor well offshore to northern waters, south to about Humboldt, CA; casual farther south. By far the maximum cruise count was of ca. 100 birds off Humboldt and Del Norte, CA 17 Apr 2012, with 7 that same day off adjacent Curry and 4 off Coos, OR, as well as 4 birds the following day off Clallam, WA; later, 2 were off Humboldt and 1 was off Coos 10 May 2012, and 2 were off Clallam 11 May 2012. Spring 2012 was a record year for this species off the Pacific Northwest and Cali - fornia. Other records from Humboldt north- ward were: 1 off Tillamook, OR 1 May 2010; 4 off Curry and Coos, OR 12 May 2010; 1 off Washington 1 May 2010; 5 off Curry 22 Apr 2011; an unknown number off Oregon and/or Washington 20 May 2011; 2 some 50 km off Humboldt and 11 off Curry 16 Apr 2013; 24 off Grays Harbor and Jefferson, WA 17 Apr 2013; 27 off Humboldt 3 May 2013; 29 ca. 60-80 km off Humboldt, 6 ca. 57 km off Del Norte, and 8 some 44-52 km off Cur - ry 9 May 2013; 2 ca. 73 km off Humboldt 30 Apr 2014; 6 off Curry 1 May 2014; 9 ca. 50-58 km off Jefferson and Clallam 9 May 2014; 5 off Tillamook 2 Apr 2016; 10 ca. 87- 95 km off Pacific and Grays Harbor, WA 26 Apr 2016; and 5+ ca. 50-85 km off Curry to Lane, OR 4 May 2016. The latest involved 7 birds 34 km west of central Haida Gwaii 1 Jun 2013. Farther south, where much rarer, 2 were off Monterey, 1 was off San Mateo, and 6 were off Sonoma, CA 30 April 2010. This species is casual in fall, and arrival dates are poorly known, but were previously thought mostly to be no earlier than Decem - ber. Interestingly, Kenyon et al. (2009) re- ported that the peak month(s) for this species during at-sea surveys off British Columbia were February and October. Recent early-sea - son cruise reports included singles 75-80 km off Clatsop and Curry, OR 17 Sep 2000, and 1 off Curry 25 Sep 2012 followed by 6 birds 48 km off Gold Beach, Curry 25 October 2012 Figure 19. Typically the most ubiquitous pelagic species seen in deep waters beyond the shelf edge between May and September or October is Leach's Storm-Petrel. It breeds in relatively small numbers north to Washington, but in much larger numbers in British Columbia and Alaska. This individual was photographed 162 km west of Cape Blanco, Curry County, Oregon on 13 May 2015. Photograph by Gary Rosenberg.

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