European Storm-Petrel Off Cape Hatteras, NC - May 27, 2003

While reviewing some digital files from spring trips weeks later, I came across this rather startling image. I was aiming to photograph the Band-rumped Storm Petrel (center), and the bird on the left just happened to be in frame when I shot the photo. Unfortunately it is the only image that I have of the bird, as it was an accidental shot in the first place. There appears to be little doubt that this a European Storm-Petrel - Hydrobates pelagicus, previously unrecorded here and known in North America by only one firm prior record.  This shot was taken (according to the camera) around 1345 on May 27, 2003 in the Gulf Stream east of Cape Hatteras.  Since this photo was taken, careful inspection of storm-petrels here has resulted in at least nine more sightings of the species!

Brian Patteson

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Last modified: January 06, 2008