21 October update
Three ‘big year’ birders finally nail ‘little’ year bird. San Diego seabird guru Dave Povey took Laura, Christian and I out to 30-mile Bank in his boat today with the hope of finding the storm-petrel ‘rafts’ that have been so elusive this year. We were well into the day when we hit the jackpot – with upwards of 2,000 stormies comprising several tight scrums. Apart from a few Wilson’s Storm-petrels, the rafts appeared to be made up of Black Storm-petrels and Least Storm-petrels, in a proportion that I’d guess was about 20:1 in favour of the much bigger Blacks. What a relief, and what a joy – for all four of us! This brings my year-list total to new ABA Big Year milestone: 770 species – matching my Australian big year mark from 2014. Exciting times indeed!
The size difference between Black Storm-petrels and Least Storm-petrels was
more dramatic than I'd expected, as evidenced in this image.