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Brown Booby - a Mega Rarity!

Published October 07, 2013
Tags: Life List Happenings, Brown Booby, Double-crested Cormorant, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Jaeger

Talk about being in the right place at the right time! It was an extraordinary day today.

The day was exceptionally windy.  How windy?  It was so windy that if you opened your mouth, your cheeks would literally flap in the wind - windy!

High winds mean jaegers and I've really been eager to see one!  So, today, acting on Jim Pawlicki's advice that I should come down to the Erie Basin Marina to try for one - is how I happened to be birding with him when he spotted a mega rarity.

As we were scanning the water for jaegers, gannets, or whatever the fierce winds and rains might blow in, Jim shouted he thought he found a Brown Booby.  Struggling with the ID - having a hard time believing this bird would be flying over Lake Erie - he eventually realized his first instinct was right.  It was the very first sighting of a Brown Booby over ANY of the Great Lakes.  Wow.

The rest of the daylight hours were spent following the bird up and down the waterfront as more and more excited birders gathered.  Many saw the bird, including myself.  Jim got some identifiable photos - I got even less.  I'm throwing a few photos up here as "eye candy" but I sure wish I could offer some nice photos of this uber-rare bird and exceptional find...

TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE:  Miraculously, the Brown Booby was still around this morning (Tuesday, 10/8/13).  I met Celeste Morien down at the Erie Basin Marina at sunrise with hopes that she would get to see this wonderful rarity. As luck would have it, she DID!  Mike Morgante relocated it and it gave us all a nice flyby too.  I even caught a few photos this morning - MUCH BETTER than last night's!  Several other birders showed up this morning as well and I was finally able to put some faces behind some very familiar names; it was wonderful meeting everyone!

Also, on the way home, I had a flyover of a flock of 11 Canada Geese and 2 SNOW GEESE.  A quick stop at Woodlawn Beach produced a Blue-Headed Vireo, a Black-throated Blue Warbler, a couple of Yellow-rumped, and 2 Golden-crowned Kinglets.


Photo courtesy of Jim Pawlicki: Brown Booby sitting front and center amidst Double-crested Cormorants and gulls

Photo courtesy of Jim Pawlicki: Brown Booby flying over the Niagara River
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Brown Booby - taken Tuesday morning
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Brown Booby - taken Tuesday morning
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Brown Booby - Tuesday morning
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Brown Booby - Tuesday morning
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Two SNOW GEESE mixed in with some Canadas - seen on my way home Tuesday!
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A pair of Mallards float on the choppy water
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Fierce winds!
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I'm guessing a thousand Double-crested Cormorants
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Double-crested Cormorant
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Ring-billed Gull
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Blue-Headed Vireo - Tuesday at Woodlawn Beach
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Blue-Headed Vireo - Tuesday at Woodlawn Beach
Reply from: Lynn on 10/8/2013 10:38 PM
 Super cool that you got to enjoy this rare bird siting. You were indeed in the right place at the right time. Congrats.
Reply from: Jenn on 10/9/2013 9:32 AM
 Wow, the first sighting EVER on the Great Lakes?! What a rare and awesome opportunity. You did get some great pictures on Tuesday; thanks for sharing!
Reply from: Jenn on 10/9/2013 9:32 AM
 Wow, the first sighting EVER on the Great Lakes?! What a rare and awesome opportunity. You did get some great pictures on Tuesday; thanks for sharing!