Friday, 30 August 2019


Much controversy! There's always doubt if you don't see it, I include myself here. Anyway, here's my account...not a justification...

After staying till dusk on Tuesday I kipped in the car at Marizion. After an essential McDonald's at 6 I parked in the same spot as yesterday (free) and made my way eventually up to the Chapel at St Ives again. Plenty already there. The morning was clear but rain was forecast. The crowd built up and included Dave Hursthouse and John Hewitt from my neck of the woods.

Just before 8 much agitation ensued. I had my pal on the lead, so I made my way into a clearer area. Birders were giving instructions to the relevant area across to Carbis Bay. You could see the beach beyond with a number of posts and dog walkers. There was an obvious group of Gannets fishing in the usual way, instructions were helpfully being given although there was some understandable confusion over which post on the beach they were referring to.

Anyway, I zoomed my Leica APO and started to watch the feeding group. I almost immediately picked up a very dark bird which kept lower over the water. To me, it looked slighter, slightly smaller. A different structure/jizz and "scuffier". It was more agile than the accompanying Gannets which were obviously great for comparison. It also fed differently. I saw it three times over around 10 minutes and on a few occasions saw it dive at a narrow angle, unlike the Gannets. It stood out once located and was always low over the water. On my final view the bird banked up slightly, front on and I could see a distinctly paler area on the belly. It then flew off further round the bay. I was now happy I had seen the BROWN BOOBY.

The rain closed in and I found out my waterproof coat...wasn't!

As stated this wasn't a lone bird fly-by. The fact it remained in one area with Gannets to my mind aided ID greatly. Yes it was at distance...BUT I could see the difference. Nothing I have read subsequently has made me doubt my sighting, in fact it has been confirmed.

The crowd dispersed and I made my way down to the adjacent Coastguards were other Birders had connected including Paul Chapman, who I overheard saying "100% Brown Booby".

Experienced Birders will know that birds CAN be id'd at distance. As said initially there will always be scepticism in this game BUT you have to have the courage of your convictions. Otherwise, what's the point?

P.S I've subsequently heard the bird followed a similar pattern of behaviour yesterday.

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