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Belated Report: Brown Booby in St. Anthony - 23 July 2012

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Blake Maybank

Feb 22, 2013, 11:47:41 AM2/22/13
Hi NF Birds;

I was recently contacted by Peter Mitchell, a long-time birder from Montreal, who spent the May-September period of 2012 in St. Anthony. While there he made note of a Brown Booby that was in the Northern Peninsula area for several days in mid-July, between the Strait of Belle Isle and off St. Anthony. He saw it from the ferry to Blanc Sablon, and it later appeared on a whale-watching tour boat out of St. Anthony (no proof it is the same bird involved in all the sightings, but seems likely).

He did not know who to contact regarding this sighting (he has no computer and is never on-lone), and eventually contacted me by phone earlier this week (and obviously well after the sighting was over).

The sighting is not a fantasy, and for corroboration one need look no further than the following article and photographs that appeared in "The Northern Pen", on 23 July 2012.

Peter informs me the bird was subsequently found dead, but that the corpse was not preserved. I will try to contact Peter to get more details of the specific dates of the various occurrences.

It is worth noting that New Brunswick had its first ever Brown Booby last May 20 when a bit alighted on a boat off Grand Manan.


Blake Maybank
White's Lake, Nova Scotia

Feb 22, 2013, 12:24:11 PM2/22/13
This is a very exciting report. Sounds almost beyond reason that a Brown Booby would be in St. Anthony but there have been a few non-storm related Brown Boobies well north of their range on the Atlantic coast in the last year or so. But we have been recently burned by a hoax photo of a Common Chaffinch a few weeks ago on the Avalon. And since then there was another pure hoax European Blackbird with a photo from elsewhere in Canada. And a winter Veery photo hoax from Vancouver a couple of weeks.

We need to know if the photos in the newspaper article were of the actual bird or taken off the internet somewhere. Who is the photographer Luke Arbuckle? Shouldn't be too difficult to get a hold of Paul Alcock the boat tour operator.

Young Northern Gannets can land on boats.

We should be able to get to the bottom of this. Brown Booby would be an exciting new bird for Newfoundland Too bad we didn't find out about it in time. where were you on 23 July 2012?

B Mactavish

Blake Maybank

Feb 22, 2013, 1:28:09 PM2/22/13
I have just spoken with one of the employees of Northland Discovery Boat Tours, and she confirms the story. The Booby rested for some time on the boat, then left the vessel as it appproached St. Anthony Harbour. The corpse of the bird was seen the next day on rocks near the harbour mouth, but it was not possible to retrieve the body. The captain will be phoning me with more details (as he was on the boat), but the photos are legit. I will post more info here when I get it.

Jared Clarke

Feb 22, 2013, 1:39:52 PM2/22/13

Exciting news. Would you be able to send me the date it was seen from the ferry if/when you confirm it???


Bill Montevecchi

Mar 7, 2013, 7:52:51 PM3/7/13
It is also worthy of note that the summer of 2012 was a time of anomalously warm water throughout the NW Atlantic


On Friday, February 22, 2013 1:17:41 PM UTC-3:30, Blake Maybank wrote:

Mar 8, 2013, 11:34:44 AM3/8/13
We were at home in Plum Point in July 2012. Unfortunately we never knew about the Brown Booby. What a great chance wasted!
So, St Anthony has a Brown Booby in 2012. The Gulf Coast of Florida has Razorbills, Black Scoters, Long-tailed Ducks, and Kittiwakes in late 2012 /early 2013. Maybe it's an exchange program! Certainly a lot of birds wandering outside their normal ranges for whatever reasons.
And, by the way, don't forget the White Pelican that was in Roddickton in 2012 as well.John and Ivy Gibbons
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