More booby news--and Zone-tailed Hawk

Philip Unitt

Dear friends,


If there are three Nazca Boobies in San Diego Bay now, there were probably four a few days ago, because on 26 August a subadult Nazca Booby was brought from North Island Naval Air Station to Project Wildlife, which transferred it to Sea World, which handles rehabilitation of local seabirds now. The bird died, but a picture sent me while it was still alive clearly showed the bill tinged with reddish. It was brought to me yesterday along with a carcass of a Red-footed Booby—of a bird that had been picked up on the San Diego Bay bait barge on 13 October 2018 and kept in captivity for some period that I don’t know. These boobies have gone through the standard necropsy procedure, so I will have to ask the vet staff at Sea World if they confirmed if either bird had swallowed a fishhook. In any case I’m planning reconstructive surgery on the Red-footed tomorrow.


In addition to the boobies, I also received yesterday, thanks to Linda King and Project Wildlife, a juvenile Zone-tailed Hawk found with a broken wing at the Tijuana River estuary on 31 August, picked up by Humane Law Enforcement.


We have also received two Yellow-crowned Night Herons this summer, one adult that came through Project Wildlife but unfortunately without an exact locality, and one recently fledged juvenile, which paid the price for depredating Snowy Plover chicks in the San Diego Bay salt works instead of the crabs it was supposed to be eating. Is the Yellow-crowned more numerous around San Diego than the Black-crowned yet?!?!


All these specimens have been or will be catalogued in the research collection of the San Diego Natural History Museum, serving as the core documentation of the rapid changes in our environment. I remember receiving our first San Diego County specimen of the Brown Booby in 1990 as if it were only yesterday….


Good birding,


Philip Unitt

San Diego


From: [] On Behalf Of David Povey
Sent: Friday, September 06, 2019 11:50 AM
Subject: [SanDiegoRegionBirding] Searcher Pelagic


Sorry gang, my bad. All three adult boobies were Nazca Boobies. Seen as we returned to San Diego Bay about 8:30-8:40 a.m. this morning  (9-6-19). They were in flight on the west side of the bay between Shelter Is. and going towards the navy fuel pier. I'm not sure whether they're any photos as this was the end of a five day trip. Maybe 5-6 birders still active.

It would be interesting to see if any ships have come in form South America of Panama Canal over the last couple of days?


Other Highlights for the San Diego Co, portion of the trip were:

An Adult Nazca Booby near the Thirty Mile Bank on the Sept. 2

Several pairs of Craveri's Murrelets (3-4?) on the Thirty Mile.   9-2-19

Three Long-tailed Jaegers S.D.Trough and Thirty Mile Bank  9-2-19

Four Black Oystercatchers on Ballast Point  9-2-19

One Parastic Jaeger on 9-2 ,and two on on 9-6-19

One Pomarine Jaeger on 9-2

A large distant flying alcid . Likely a  Rhinoceros Auklet .  Nine Mile Bank around dawn   9-6-19. Certainly early, but we had one well seen on day two south of Santa Cruz Is. Not a Common Murre. some of which have been seen this summer.


Other sightings:

Pink-footed Shearwater    now our most abundant shearwater.

Sooty Shearwater

Black-vented Shearwater   one at Thirty Mile Bank.

Black Storm-Petrel   very small numbers

Leach's Storm-Petrel  chapmani   dang near as many as Blacks

Red-necked Phalarope

Red Phalarope very few

Sabine's Gull    good numbers all trip long, but not seen on the morning of the 6th.

Common Tern

Elegant Tern


No Least Storm-Petrel ( none seen anywhere for the five day trip), or Ashy Storm-Petrels, no other boobies, no tropicbird, or alcids, in local waters.


Two Byrde's W.hales just before the Thirty Mile Bank was only the second time I'd seen that  species in S.D. wasters.


Sorry again for the confusion on the S.D.Bay Nazca Boobies,

Dave Povey









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