Rare Bird Sightings: Nazca booby and Black Oyster-catcher chic
Okay, I know, I know…..we are best known for our cetacean sightings and fluke videos. BUT, once in awhile, Mother Nature throws us a double-whammy that can’t be ignored. This week, two rarities occurred repeatedly, not 100 feet apart. Let’s start with the Nazca booby, an equatorial bird that seldom appears in these latitudes. At least one has been taking its rest on the tip of the long breakwater each day, prior to hunting. Each afternoon, it returns to the same spot. It is a beautiful bird, with a striking black/white color pattern. Even better, it’s a bit of a show-off, and seems to pose when our cameras are pointed at it, from 30 feet away. In the bird guides, the Nazca is listed as far North as central Baja; there is no mention of it visiting Dana Point!
The other rarity is the successful hatching of a Black Oyster-catcher chic, near the end of the same breakwater. Both parents guarded the egg for weeks, and the chic hatched on Thursday, July 25th. Initially a gray fuzzball, it is growing rapidly. Several times a day, one of the parents flies off to hunt and return with food. In these rare photos, our photographer MokiTom captured the moment when one parent offers bits of mussel to the chic. In the last 20 years, this is only the third chic that has hatched on the inner wall of the long breakwater.
This Saturday and Sunday, our wildlife cruise will DEFINITELY be slowing for a look at these rarities. Cross your fingers that neither fly the coop!