It’s a Booby!


This week’s photo, which I took 4 1/2 years ago on the island of Tobago in the Caribbean, features a BROWN BOOBY, a tropical species that made a surprise appearance in the Pacific Northwest 6 days ago.

Last Friday, I’m standing on the pier in Edmonds, WA, when the birder standing next to me (we’ll call him Josh, because that’s his name), says that he has just spotted an unusual bird through his scope. Soon, I’m able to find the bird with my scope. It’s about 2 miles away, so far out there that I wonder to myself why Josh is even bothering with it, but apparently he’s determined to identify it. For about forty minutes we follow the shadowy figure as it cruises above the water. Twice, we briefly lose sight of it when a Washington State ferry motors between us and the bird, blocking our view for several agonizing seconds.

Finally, the mystery bird begins to head in our direction. As it comes closer, Josh suddenly exclaims, “It’s a booby!” I lift my camera and take several photos of the BROWN BOOBY as it turns and heads south. (Note: this week I’m sharing an image from my photo archives because I suspect that, instead of viewing one of my distant images from last week, you’ll be more interested in seeing up close details of a Brown Booby).

Josh promptly sends out an email to the birding community, announcing the unexpected discovery. As we continue to savor the adrenaline rush of observing a very rare species for our area, we leave the pier. As I approach my car, I’m thinking that it’s highly unlikely that anyone else around these parts is going to see that booby. After all, there’s an awful lot of water out there.

Well, surprise, surprise. Two hours after Josh and I leave the pier, the booby rides into the harbor sitting on the mast of a sailboat! Several birders get terrific looks and photos of it as it enters the port, and then more fine photos are captured when it leaps off the boat and flies right past the pier before disappearing into the great expanse of the Puget Sound.

Bird Cards/Prints:


About Joe Sweeney

I photograph birds to share the beauty and wonder I find in nature.
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5 Responses to It’s a Booby!

  1. Gary Grantham says:

    You have resorted to using surrogate photos? Oh my! It’s a slippery slope my friend.

  2. Even the birds enjoy riding boats in Puget Sound! Who wouldn’t?

  3. Deborah says:

    Great story!

  4. Jere McInerney says:

    Joe…..your pics are great only to be surpassed by your stories… rare bird riding mast…..i can see it now, thanks so much…

  5. Brenda Peterson says:

    Oh my, extraordinary!

    Thank you, Joe! Loved it!

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