Thursday, May 23, 2013

Norwalk CT Brown Booby

Around 11:30 this morning I saw a post from Patrick Comins on CT BIRDS, about a Brown Booby that was spotted on a boat in Westport CT waters.
Several minutes later I received a phone call from Nick Bonomo alerting me about the Booby, moments later Patrick calls to tell me what he knows.
For those that don't know me, my boat is in the water year round and these waters have been my backyard for more then fifty years.
I started a search north of Cockenoe Island in Westport, the winds were Southwest near twenty and the seas were kicking up to that nasty two foot Long Island Sound chop, a wave about every second.
With the dropping tide I did not want to test the rocks on the south side of the islands, so I took the safe way in calmer seas, passing north and then east of Cockenoe, I spotted a few Double-crested Cormorants along the way that made me take a closer look.
With the rocking and rolling I did not want to venture further and started returning to Cockenoe to see what was happening with the terns and oystercatchers.
I watched from a distance as one oystercatcher pair had its hands full with five Fish Crows while trying to protect thier nest. Further on I did find one Oystercatcher hatchling, other adults mating and others on nest, at least three hundred Common Terns on or near the Cockenoe Sandbar, several Black terns, can't say I saw or heard a Least.
Back to the Booby.
Weather is coming my way so I decide to head back to port, as I start to head north into Norwalk Harbor I see rain in front of me so I decide to hang out a bit and wait for it to pass. I decide to go over to the Norwalk Power Plant and check out the many new Osprey nest.
On my way I come across what I initially think is a Common Loon in the water trying to swallow a fish, as I pass the bird I see that I'm very wrong .

It's the Brown Booby attempting to eat an Atlantic Menhaden.
I'm sorry about this photo, but in my haste to grab my camera I accidentally  turned it to a really bad setting and over exposed  it.
Soon the bird took flight and flew off to a harbor light, at this time Nick and friends were on his boat watching this happen.
On the Harbor Light
Another look.

After twenty or so minutes it flew over to Calf Pasture Beach, where it was mobbed by Gulls.
The booby headed east, we lost sight but headed in that direction.

I had to stop in choppy waters for this potential booby, still some Common Loons in the area.
We couldn't resight the bird, so with weather again at our doorstep, I headed back up the harbor and fast.
When I came close to my marina, I again saw gulls mobbing something, I figured this one out right away. 

It was the booby trying to escape the gulls, it headed over to my marina and set down on a friends boat.

 I never thought lightning could strike my boat twice in the same day, but wow!

Here he is, and he (she) seems to have no fear of me.

This bird had been reported perching on several working oysterboats today.

It had no problem posing

After a few minutes it flew off towards Veterans Park in East Norwalk

Where it was met again,

by some angry gulls.

So what does a Brown Booby do when being attacked by mobbing gulls?

Land on the nearest boat.

In this case, that was my boat!

So now I have a new friend onboard that is only a few feet away.

Back at the dock, it was not shy in the least, if fact it was very friendly, walking closer and closer to me. Perhaps it is used to getting handouts?

Frank Gallo did his best to get some sardines for him, but for no apparent reason it flew off.
We could not resight this bird.
Hopefully Tomorrow!


  1. Thank you for sharing these incredible photos!

  2. How awesome! You were certainly in the right place at the right time.

  3. Thanks so much for your pictures and your spellbinding account of this amazing visitor, Larry.

  4. Thank you - how exciting!