The COOK'S PETREL is apparently a regular non-breeding visitor
far offshore California. Its primary occurrence is over deep waters along
the eastern edge of the Pacific gyre, and well beyond the California Current,
from perhaps April through November. There is a specimen of a storm-driven
birds onshore, and a couple observations of birds "trapped" in the Salton
Sea after moving north in the Gulf of California.
The primary identification paper for the 'Cookilaria' petrels is Roberson & Bailey (1991). It was based in part on my California experiences but also four months in the eastern tropical Pacific in fall 1989.
All of my California records are listed below. Those preceded by Hwere found or co-found by me personally; those preceded by K receive some partial credit (e.g., I was involved in sorting out i.d. of a previously discovered bird or found some but not all of the birds on a boat trip). These are my personal Cook's Petrel records:
11/17/79 40-50 nmi. SW of Cape San Martin MTY (one bird nearer Pt. Buchon SLO) 6; description & sketch in my notes; photoLiterature cited:
12/1/79 50 nmi. SW of Cape San Martin MTY details in my notes
K 6/23/85 SW of Cordell Banks MRN 6: 5 nearer Pt. Reyes MRN, 1 nearer Farallon Is. SF; details in my notes
H4/8/91 40-48 nmi WNW of Pt. Sur MTY 3 Cook's+ 2 "Cookilaria" details in my notes
H4/9/91 68 nmi WNW of Pt. Sur MTY details in my notes
H4/10/91 100 nmi W of Pt. Sur MTY 9; details in my notes
K 8/16/92 from 31°34'N,120°43'W to 31°59'N,120°34'W 2: nearest land San Nicolas I. VEN; details in my notes
K 8/19/92 from 34°39'N,122°54'W to 34°44'N,123°41'W 8: half in MTY, half in SLO
H5/24/94 approx. 140 nm. SW of Pt. Sur MTY 3: 2 in SLO, 1 in MTY; details in my notes
K 7/15/95 north end Salton Sea RIV sketch & description in my notes; may or may not be same as there much earlier that day
Roberson, D. and Bailey, S. F. 1991. Cookilaria petrels in the eastern Pacific Ocean: identification and distribution. Amer. Birds 45: 399-403 (Part I); 45: 1067-1081 (Part 2).See the family page for county abbreviations. All photos & text © 2001 Don Roberson; all rights reserved.
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