Birds I'm Watching: Rarities at Bodega Bay (May 23, 2013)
Yesterday I rushed out to Bodega to see two rare birds there. An immature Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster) appeared at Campbell Cove on May 22. It's the first time the species has been seen in Sonoma County. Normally Brown Boobies live in Mexico. Their presence is rare anywhere in California but particularly so this far north. I had to wait around for a couple of hours, but eventually the bird appeared. Fishing, apparently fruitlessly, the bird made numerous dives but never seemed to come up with anything.
Also a rare visitor to the area is a Franklin's Gull (Larus pipixcan) that's been hanging out on the mud flats a little beyond the entrance to Doran Beach at Bodega Bay. It's an adult bird in full breeding plumage. We rarely see any of the so-called "hooded gulls" (gulls with completely black or dark brown heads in breeding plumage) here. Bonaparte's Gull (Chroicocephalus philadelphia), a hooded gull, is a common winter visitor in Sonoma County, but we see that bird normally in winter plumage.