South Polar Skua and Red-billed Tropicbirds at San Clemente Island
I had a great morning's birding at West Cove Point on the northwest tip of
San Clemente Island today. I was treated to an excellent movement of
Pink-footed Shearwaters (200+), along with many Sooties. Around 830 I picked
up a low-flying adult Red-billed Tropicbird not 100m off the kelp line. This
bird stayed in view for a few minutes and meandered back off to the south.
Around 905 a dark-morph South Polar Skua flew past heading north, a first
record for SCI. At this point I called Jon Plissner and Robbie Kohley from
PRBO to come out and have a look. Unfortunately, the skua did not reappear,
but another (or the same) Red-billed Tropicbird was seen again off to the
north, before heading out to sea.
Other birds of note were 8 Pomarine Jaegers (all adults and subadults), one
of which nearly knocked down a Royal Tern right over our heads, an
unidentified jaeger that was likely a Long-tailed, and 30 or so Phalarope sp.
Yesterday morning Jon Plissner and I birded the Southwest tip of the island,
China Point, and had a sizable movement of Pink-footed and Sooty Shearwaters
along with a few Pomarine Jaegers.
Additionally, the Buff-breasted Sandpiper is still present along with the
Broad-winged Hawk. Land-birds have been scarce due to the howling west wind.
Institute for Wildlife Studies
PO Box 357054
San Diego, CA
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