Saturday 19 September 2020

Brown Booby Birding

 On September 8th, Nathan Hood (remember him from the Cochrane trip in March?) spotted a Brown Booby at Van Wagner's Beach in Hamilton. This represented the first record for Hamilton and the Hamilton Study Area (HSA), so it was kind of a big deal. It is presumably the same bird first spotted by Brendan Boyd in Port Darlington on August 24th, which was later seen flying by the spit in Toronto. This is the second record of this species in Ontario, the first being in Niagara in 2013.

My first chance to go see this bird was on September 13th. As such, I went down and sat at the beach watching the wave tower, hoping that the booby would fly in. No dice. This was the first time the booby hadn't been spotted all day since its arrival in Hamilton! It was, of course, spotted the next day, and on the 15th.

A few days later on the 16th, I went back, this time staying until dark. Again, no luck. This was the only the second time it hadn't been spotted all day, just my luck. It was again seen the next day, and the day after that. I did see a jaeger (either Parasitic or Long-tailed), but that was about the most interesting thing.

Finally, today, I went out again, hoping it would be the last time. Thankfully, it was there upon my arrival! A bit distant for photos, but the looks through the spotting scope wasn't all that bad. The booby is the fourth bird to the right of the leftmost pole on the top railing.

Since it was an east wind, there were a few other things of note. A juvenile Sabine's Gull flew by soon after I arrived, and a bit later a group of three Red-necked Phalaropes and a Parasitic Jaeger also made an appearance. This first year Lesser Black-backed Gull hung around for a bit as well.

Quite a lot of effort, but it thankfully wasn't for nothing in the end!

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