Once again, I have to admit that living in Arizona really has its perks as far as chasing our fine avian friends. The state is situated close to Mexico and also to some bodies of salt water. With the proximity of these features, the state does get its share of casual and rare birds. Such is the case this August. A juvenile Blue-footed Booby made an appearance at Patagonia Lake, in southeastern Arizona. This bird is an ABA code 4 bird and is very rarely seen in the United States. I have actually seen this bird in Puerto Penasco, Mexico before, and it is quite at home in that location as they breed close by on Bird Island in the Gulf of California. This bird seems to have lost its compass and flew off course by about 185 miles and ended up at this remote, but very popular lake in Arizona. Once again I had the privilege of birding with a couple other excellent birders, my good friends Tommy DeBardeleben and Muriel Gordon Neddermyer. We decided to make a weekend of it and our target bird was this Blue-footed Booby, which was a new life bird for both of them and is one that was really great to add to my Arizona and US list.
Since this bird is a juvenile, it has not yet developed the striking bright blue feet that it will attain as an adult bird. Our first viewing of this bird was a distant fly over to the beach and visitor's center area. Once we worked our way to the visitor center, all we had to do was stand on the small dock and watch the show. It would fly up and down the lake making many dives for fish. One time it hit the water not more than 15 to 20 feet from our little dock area. We can truly say it put on quite a show for us. Definitely not overly concerned with the humans all around. This post is centered on this magnificent bird and I will let the photos speak for themselves.
The beginning of a dive for fish
Starting to fold in the wings before hitting the water
Would have loved to be in the boat with this close fly-by.