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10871MASKED/NAZCA Booby off La Jolla

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  • lehman.paul@verizon.net
    Jun 18 9:40 AM
      Tuesday morning I was doing my second boring AM seawatch in as many days at
      La Jolla when an immature (first-year) MASKED/NAZCA BOOBY appeared at
      moderate distance offshore at 7:30AM. The bird was a typical one-year-old
      with dark warm-brown head, slightly lighter warm-brown upperparts, gleaming
      white underneath from throat through vent, and white middle to underwing.
      Bill appeared just "dark". Birds of this age cannot be safely separable to
      species--Masked vs. Nazca--in the field. I called Jay K., who had departed
      only two minutes earlier, on the phone, and he returned and saw it. BJ was
      farther down the shore; not sure if he connected or not. The bird then
      spent the next 10+ minutes circling around only about 100 yards beyond the
      kelp, but a bit south of Children's Pool, periodically diving in the water
      after fish. It generally kept to itself, although there were scattered
      single pelicans around, diving as well. At 7:45 the booby finally headed
      back straight out to sea toward a large school of dolphins, and
      disappeared. I departed soon thereafter, but Gary N. then arrived and was
      going to give it a look for an hour. Almost all boobies seen at La Jolla
      over the years make just one pass or stay a few minutes and then leave.
      But given the fact that this bird was repeatedly diving, one can only hope
      that it was finding enough food that it might make a return visit.....
      still a long shot, however.

      And the overall seabird activity off La Jolla continues terrible. Other
      than the booby I saw a grand total of one Sooty Shearwater this morning.
      And yesterday morning--looking offshore there for 2-1/2 hours--Curtis M.
      and I saw absolutely nothing of any interest.

      --Paul Lehman, San Diego

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