Brown Boobies started moving north well beyond their normal subtropical 28C waters only a dozen or so years ago. The first in Newfoundland was on 18 July 2012 all the way north at St. Anthony. That more or less fit into the unfathomable, yet still unexplained pattern emerging of Brown Boobies straying well north of the norm. In the coming years other Brown Boobies were photographed by fisherman on their boats well offshore. On 4 August 2015 Richard Thomas with friends from the mainland lucked into an adult Brown Booby resting on the rocks at Long Beach near Cape Race. A chance for a chase. A small gang of us hoped it would reappear the next day - but NOPE. Over the next summers without a break more Brown Boobies were phone-snapped with smartphones adding to the annual agony.
2019 was an above average year of Brown Booby reports landing on boats in the offshore and also the ferry between NS and Newfoundland They were all in the warmer waters on the southern edge of Newfoundland but that was still under the 20 C.
This morning I was pishing in the alders on the southern edge of the Avalon Peninsula at Trepassey. Was hoping to duplicate something along the lines of the male Prothonotary Warbler present on nearby Powle''s Head. The phone rang. It was Cliff. When Cliff phones it means something. He said "someone on Facebook posted about a strange bird sitting on the mast of a boat at Pier 7. It looks like one of them Brown Boobies". I was only 5 minutes from Cliffs house in Trepassey. Cliff showed me the picture on computer. It was indeed a Brown Booby! It was at Pier 7 in St.John's, right behind Jack Astor's and it was NOW. I posted the news to the local Whatsapp group.
I'd like to thanks the stars above for allowing me to drive the twisting 120 km from Trepassey to St. John's with an adrenaline drip to the jugular, in a smooth and orderly manner below the speed of sound, in the lane of least resistance and getting to Pier 7 in St John's harbour five minutes before the Brown Booby lifted its wings, flew, circled twice and departed. What a bird..... What rush....Turbo Civics are made for coastal road bird chases.
Instinct was to take pictures first. I was just starting to do that when it flew. I feel a little robbed. Sure I saw the bird but I hardly looked at it. The few pictures on my camera ensure happiness. A Brown Booby flying around St. John's harbour is surreal. It really did happen.