Lesser Florican - August 2023

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Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Kynance Cove, Cornwall 4/9/19

With an unprecedented influx of Boobies currently taking show in Cornwall (this influx involving a total of two Brown Boobies), it was only a matter of time that the tedious but somewhat satisfying annual Cornwall twitch was going to occur.

Despite the first Brown Booby (this being a sub-adult type) being in my eyes nearly impossible to catch up with at St. Ives, the discovery of a more obliging and therefore twitchable individual resulted in a plan being hatched, and during the late evening and the gruesome early hours of Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, I was driving John King and Chris Glanfield down to The Lizard, situated on the far flung parts of Western Cornwall.

We arrived before it got light and emerged after a short snooze to join the 50 people already scanning the rocky stacks below us. With many eyes awaiting a Booby entrance, I concentrated on seawatching but could only muster some reasonable sized flocks of Manx Shearwaters. Time passed the expected arrival time of the Booby with only a group of six Choughs to keep us occupied. The mood changed and an imminent dip was on the cards, let alone the early signs of hypothermia as I cleverly was wearing shorts and looked very much out of place in the very blustery and chilly conditions.

Mercifully the young Brown Booby flew in from the west and passed close to the headland on which we were standing upon and spent the next twenty minutes feeding in the bay to the east, at times affording excellent scope views, and despite the strong wind engulfing the ragged coastline, the Booby was seen hunting. Not quite as striking as the adults I've encountered in Taiwan or California, but a special bird to see in UK waters, and no doubt a unique experience that won't occur again anytime soon.

I arrived home at 4.30pm having left the site half hour after the Booby arrived as it landed out of site. Many thanks to John, Chris and Test Match Special for keeping me awake on the way back.


immature Brown Booby

immature Brown Booby

Kynance Cove

The bay to the east where the 
Brown Booby was feeding.