Belated Brown Booby

By josh • Nature, Wildlife • 10 Dec 2014

With all the recent excitement in the Champlain Valley about the Prairie Falcon, Yellow-headed Blackbird, White-eyed Vireo, and Harris’s Sparrow, it’s easy to forget about the oddest Vermont vagrant of 2014- the Brown Booby that cruised up and down Lake Champlain for a few weeks in August and September.  Alas I never saw it cross to the Vermont side of the lake- it was a nice tick for the ABA Area and New York, but I’m very sorry not to have it on my Vermont list.  It wasn’t even a lifer for me- I saw them regularly in Saint Lucia in 2010.

Listing aside, it was great to spend a little time with this bird in Crown Point with a crowd of other observers, many of whom were Addison County friends that I don’t see often.  We did have excellent views:

Brown Booby
Crown Point, New York
August, 2014
Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/10, 1/800s, ISO320

Brown Booby
Crown Point, New York
August, 2014
Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/11, 1/800s, ISO320

We even got to see it do a little hunting.  Apologies for the quality of these- the booby managed to hit the water probably half a mile away without crossing into Vermont waters.  First, spotting something from afar:

Brown Booby
Crown Point, New York
August, 2014
Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/10, 1/800s, ISO320

Then, hurriedly out over the lake:

Brown Booby
Crown Point, New York
August, 2014
Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/10, 1/800s, ISO250

Brown Booby
Crown Point, New York
August, 2014
Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/10, 1/800s, ISO250

And a very large Yellow Perch!

Brown Booby
Crown Point, New York
August, 2014
Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/13, 1/800s, ISO250

Company arrived shortly thereafter:

Herring Gull and Brown Booby
Crown Point, New York
August, 2014
Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/13, 1/800s, ISO250

Which was most unwelcome:

Herring Gull and Brown Booby
Crown Point, New York
August, 2014
Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/13, 1/800s, ISO250

As was the next one:

Herring Gulls and Brown Booby
Crown Point, New York
August, 2014
Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/11, 1/800s, ISO250

The gulls (and maybe the size of that perch?!) having proved too much, the booby returned to us on the western shore, much more annoyed by the local birds than by the crowd of admiring humans just up the hill.

Brown Booby
Crown Point, New York
August, 2014
Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/7.1, 1/1250s, ISO250

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