[All photographs copyright, Gary Nunn 2013] – With all the chatter about Blue-footed Booby being seen in Marin, Los Angeles and Orange Counties I thought I would make a quick check of La Jolla Cove at lunch time “just in case”. What seems like endless efforts searching for boobys here had left me somewhat skeptical I might ever have the good fortune to spot one. So I was somewhat amazed just minutes after arriving to spot a distant Blue-footed Booby Sula nebouxii circling with pelicans a good distance off to the south. Too far away for photography, but well observed with my field scope, the booby unfortunately flew “the wrong way” off strongly to the south and disappeared. Then just twenty minutes later another Blue-footed Booby came flying out from La Jolla Cove, north of my observation position. I really think there must have been two birds, it seems unlikely to me that the first bird could have returned so quickly and escaped my attention making it back into the cove. The second bird, this time a lot closer, circled actively with Brown Pelicans and Western Gulls pursuing fish corralled into the cove by a small pod of dolphins. After some plunge diving it settled down and sat on the water for an extended period of time. Other birders then arrived and enjoyed views of the booby before it flew off to the north.
Blue-footed Booby is considered a Category A rarity by San Diego Field Ornithologists and is a California Bird Records Committee review species. Looking at the SDBIRDS listserv archive there appears to be few well documented records of this species from San Diego County with perhaps one every couple of years on average. With the recent incursion of Blue-footed Booby into southern California waters, perhaps presaged by records too in Arizona and New Mexico, this species should be looked for right now off the coast.