Today (Oct 1, 2019) was an incredible day. My friend John Reynolds invited me out on his boat to twitch the Brown Booby. He bought  a new beautiful boat so when I got to the dock at Vanier Park to meet him I had no idea that was his boat! I had been on his old one before and what a beautiful upgrade. There was 9 of us friends on board and we set off to try and find this marvelous bird. 

There has never been a twitchable Brown Booby in Vancouver. This is only the second record of one. Most Brown Boobies are seen by fisherman and they don't stick around long. This bird was first found by Dan Pontalti and Grant Edwards on Sept 21, 2019. Unfortunately due to distance they were not able to photograph it. Then on Sept 29, 2019 Rick Zapf was able to photograph the bird off the south jetty.

So back to our trip we went out and began finding huge flocks of  thousands of Bonaparte's Gulls. In those flocks we found 3 Parasitic Jaegers. Lovely adults and some young ones. They are such cool looking birds. We drove straight to Sands Heads Jetty where John has taken me before to see Heermann's Gulls. This year sadly we did not see one. This is a VERY bad year for Heermann's Gulls. There have only been 2 in Point Roberts, WA and I have not seen one!!. None at all in Vancouver this year. Well we did not see any today either.

We saw many Brandt's and Double-crested and Pelagic Cormorants, a couple Common Terns, Surf Scoters, Pacific Loon, Western Sandpipers and a few Black-bellied Plovers.  We got to see several large California Sea Lions and 1 HUGE Steller's Sea Lion. I have never seen Steller's in Vancouver only off Point Roberts!. We had searched Sand Heads and the surrounding water thoroughly but came up empty on the Brown Booby. We did see some Harbour Porpoises, Harbour Seals and Humpback Whales though. It is a real good year for whales. This week I have seen 5 Humpbacks from land at the tip of the south jetty at Iona and in Point Roberts, WA I have seen 2 Humpbacks and J-Pod (Southern Resident Killer Whales)!.

I asked John to go check out the end of the south jetty where I know Cormorants like to roost and when we were almost at the tip Roger Foxall spotted the Brown Booby at 11 am flying right at us. I saw it quickly and screamed to the rest on the boat who hadn't got on it yet!. It was truly fantastic to see it. It was being harassed by the Bonaparte's Gulls just like Dan and Grant had said. It was also in the same spot that they and Rick had it right off the south jetty. Anyone standing on land would have seen it clearly through their scope. In fact if you go in the morning which seems to be its pattern at high tide you should have a good chance of seeing this bird. 

Brown Booby in Richmond - Photos: Melissa Hafting

My camera was tucked in my bag so I had to grab it and catch it as it was flying away but was very happy with what I got. This was a new Vancouver bird for me #323. It was also a new BC bird for me #434. This is incredibly my 9th new BC Bird this year. This bird was also my 251 th bird seen this year in Metro Vancouver. What a fantastic year. 

Steller's Sea Lion in Steveston - Photo: Peter Candido

California Sea Lion in Steveston - Photos: Peter Candido

We finished the day seeing a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper at Reifel, a Bar-tailed Godwit at Boundary Bay and a nice dinner with drinks at Brown's Social House.

It was wonderful to share it with good friends on such a beautiful day.

It really reminded me of the time we all got together to look for White-tailed Ptarmigan in North Vancouver. To read about that amazing experience click HERE.

Thank you again John for taking me out. You rock and I have missed you so!


  1. Congrats on finding the brown booby sounds like a really fun day and sea lions too!

    1. thanks yes it was super nice. porpoises, whales, sea lions, jaegers, bonies and a booby what else could you ask for? well maybe a brown shrike lol

  2. Beautiful shots of the booby, and what a wonderful day to be on the water!

    1. thank you so much bryony! it really was a beautiful day.


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