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FLORIDABIRDS-L  July 2002

FLORIDABIRDS-L July 2002

Subject:

Red-footed Booby, NO.

From:

Larry Manfredi <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Tue, 23 Jul 2002 22:06:59 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (63 lines)

I was down at the Dry Tortugas on Friday July 19th. in search of the
reported Red-footed Booby with 4 other birders.  One birder from
California and three from New Jersey, I rented Kayaks in Key West to
increase our chances of finding the bird.  Captain Rick of the Yankee
Freedom 2, cruised by Iowa Rock channel marker 3 on our approach to the
fort, to let us scan for the Booby.  We saw one immature Brown Booby,
Frigatebirds and some Brown Noddies, no sign of any Red-footed Booby.
Our next strategy once at the fort, was to scope Bush Key, Long Key and
Iowa Rock channel marker number 3.  After using the scope on all of
these areas without success, we boarded our two rented Kayaks, two
people per Kayak and paddled over to Long Key.  This is where the
Frigatebird colony exist and where I have seen one of two sightings of
Red-footed Booby in the past 9 years.  My other sighting was approaching
the fort near the boundary markers for the park, we had one fly low over
the bow of the boat, excellent looks!  Both of these sightings were a
few years ago, I have seen none since, at least not at the Dry
Tortugas.  I have seen many in the West Indies, they range from white
morphs to all brown morphs and ones in between.  I have seen them in
flocks with all of these morphs mixed together.

After searching the Frigatebird colony we paddled over to the north side
of Bush Key.  You now have to drag the Kayak across the sand that filled
in the channel that used to separate Garden Key and Bush Key in order to
search on the north side of Bush Key.  We paddled all the way to the
east end of Bush Key and searched all the trees for any Boobies but saw
none.  We then paddled the mile or so to Iowa rock to check channel
marker number 3 and saw one immature Brown Booby the same one that we
saw on the way in.  We were pretty tired at this point paddled back to
the north side of Bush Key to search for the Booby on our way back to
Garden Key, no luck.  We then searched the trees inside the fort and
around the campground for any migrants or rarities, coming up with only
one Black-and-white Warbler.  I heard one other warbler which was
probably a Northern Parula, we never saw it though.  By this time we
pretty much were out of time and boarded the Yankee Freedom 2 for our
journey back to Key West.  Captain Rick, the nice person that he is,
cruised very close to Iowa Rock channel marker 3 to give us a third
chance of finding the Booby.  We saw 4 immature Brown Boobies with one
of the four smaller than the others, this clearly was not a Red-footed
Booby, smaller yes, but for sure just another Brown Booby.  The legs and
feet were a pale yellow which is consistent with any immature Brown
Boobies.  The bill color was grayish, the demarcation line on the upper
chest was the same as any Brown Booby, in short, just another Brown
Booby!  Captain Rick goes out to the fort almost every day, he has seen
the same 4 to 5 Brown Boobies for many weeks and has seen no sign of a
Red-footed Booby.  He has seen a Red-footed Booby before in the trees at
the Frigatebird colony, but never on a channel marker, he looks all the
time.  National Park employees told me they have searched many times
while boating around the islands and also have not seen the booby.

I sure wish that me and the other four birders that I was with, had seen
it, oh well, maybe next time.

Larry Manfredi
Homestead, Fl.
E-mail: [log in to unmask]

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