Chasing the booby.

Can you still call it a chase when the bird never freakin moves?

I arrived at the location of a recently found Brown Booby in Newport just before 9:00 a.m. yesterday.  The bird was hunkered down, facing away from the boardwalk.  The other two birders and I were not even positive we were looking at the right dark blob until, as you can see above, it finally picked its head up.

The sun was shining nearby but the booby was stuck in the fog.  I waited patiently for an hour for it do ANYTHING but it just slept, poking its head up maybe three times throughout the hour.  Sea lions below the boardwalk were trying to entertain us instead...

The Yaquina Bay Bridge always makes for a good photo...

I left around ten to take the dogs over to the south jetty for a walk.  

Common Loon

 Sometimes Pelagic Cormorants belt out sea shanties.

 Sometimes they don't, thanks to merciless mocking by Brandt's Cormorants and pelicans.

Apparently my first Cackling Geese in Lincoln County.  Yay. 

 After the jetty I returned to the booby spot to see if anything had changed.  It had not.  So I went off to get a sandwich and take a drive south a bit just for the hell of it.  I stopped at Yachats Beach State Park (or something to that effect) and found this gull:

It struck me as Thayer's-ish but not quite, and not dark enough for Western, and the eye too dark for Herring, unless it's one of those dark-eyed Herrings...  Is it just a Herring?    Argh.

I made it back to the booby spot around 1:30 where I saw a couple that had been there earlier in the morning.  They said the bird had not flown but had in fact turned around, and at one point flapped its wings.  I'll take it!  Here's a full frontal booby for you:

 Yeah, it was still far.  Oh and it was raining at this point.

 I walked the dogs along the boardwalk a bit, giving the bird more time to maybe actually do something, when I was reminded of something interesting:  Jake is terrified of sea lions.  I learned this almost five years ago in Astoria (see the blog post here).   As soon as I got the dogs out of the car Jake was alert, sniffing, looking, sniffing... nervous!  Jake is not scared of anything.  Ever.  Not horses, not cows, not deer, not anything.  I walked them over to the spot where you can look down at the sea lions and he saw them.  He sniffed.  And then him and Ralph slowly backed away till they were pulling me back towards the car.  Dogs are weird.   But so are sea lions.

I left Newport around 2:00, right when some folks were leaving on a boat to get better views of the booby.  They reported that the booby started flying around and fishing and everyone got great photos.  Of course. 

One last bird... I stopped at Freddy's on the way home to get some groceries and found this awesome lego set!

You can make a Bald Eagle OR a BEAVER OR a Scorpion.   WANT!  NEED!  Good times!!


  1. I must admit that I was a big fan of Legos when I was a kid.At least you got to see the booby but I understand your frustration about getting a photo. I'd be into checking out those sea lions close up like that-very cool!

  2. Ah, delightful. I admire your tenacity re: booby shot. Facing you is a BIG improvement. =)

    I think your dogs are smart. Sea lions are the bad-ass dogs of the water--their mouths are festooned with bacteria, and I learned from the father of an animal, erm, handler (?) that a bite from a sea lion scars way worse than a wolf bite. Apparently his (adult) son knew from first hand experience (no pun intended).

  3. I am now curious if Huck has any fear of sea lions. I once found a sick one on the beach and Huck ignored it as far as I recall.
    I think your gull is mostly Herring with maybe G-winged mixed in. It is hard to tell on a lone bird, but a Herring Gull will have black primaries, for example a hybrid would have grayer black or a Thayer's would have slaty black. Not sure what that difference would be :). I think a winter Herring would have more streaking in head rather than that soft mottled gray look. The bill looks Herring (except where is any red spot on what looks like an adult bird, it had no brown hues mixed in with gray?, something else to look for on gulls to help age) , it even has that pinkish hue to base that Herrings can get in winter. The small spots on primary tips looks Herring as compared to larger bolder spots on Thayer's. The dark eye on Herring is rare and I do not think you can rule out hybrid if you see that in the west. Main question would come down to if those primaries were pure black or not. Black primaries would mean Herring, off black would be something else mixed in. My view, one of ten you can get.

  4. Damn that's a lot of looks at a Booby. I will not make any jokes.

    Seems like a pretty chill day of birding though, and I hope your next post will feature some new creature you made with eagle wings, a beaver tail, and scorpion pincers.

  5. What a stroke of awesome fortune, it was there and you photoed it! Amazing. Im sure its the huge teeth that Jake is scared of!!

  6. Gulls can be a nightmare! We only really have 3 species in Australia - which narrows things down a lot!

    Feel fee to link this - and future - posts to Wild Bird Wednesday that runs on my photo-blog on (!) Wednesdays!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne


Post a Comment

Popular Posts