Southwest Birders
Read about our adventures and thoughts on birding in Arizona, California, and other locales. Check back weekly for updates!

December 2023
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Blue-footed Booby at Salton Sea
Filed under: California
Posted by: Bob @ 10:19 am

Hi all,

(18) yes eighteen BLUE-FOOTED BOOBY were found on Obsidian Butte at the Salton Sea about sunset on Wednesday evening September 18. They were reported on eBird by Garrett MacDonald with a group of visiting birders. “Possibly a new high count for CA and the ABA area?”

There is currently an invasion of Blue-footed Booby coming up from Baja California, Mexico and numerous birds have been reported up the California coast and in a few inland southwestern states. An oddity of this invasion so far had been that none had yet been found at the Salton Sea and in the few recorded invasions of the past they were most numerous at the Salton Sea. It appears that most, if not all, of the birds reported across the region are immature.

I made a concentrated search on Sunday September 15 by scouring the southeast shoreline of the Salton Sea from Poe Road to Obsidian Butte and found none. This leads me to believe that they arrived sometime this week as I could easily have missed one or two amidst the massive numbers of Brown Pelican currently on the Salton Sea but 18 together!

Obsidian Butte can be reached by going west on McKendry Road from Gentry Road. This intersection is about 1/4 mile south of the Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR headquarters at Sinclair and Gentry Roads. Continue onto Obsidian Butte and keep right making a counterclockwise loop around the butte, exiting on the seawall going south. Search the rocks along the shoreline or anyplace where the Brown Pelicans are perched. Keep an eye over the open water of the Salton Sea for birds plunge diving for fish.

Even crazier than that? A few weeks ago a Hawaiian/Galapagos Petrel was found, deceased, in a vacant lot, in the middle of Yuma Arizona!?! That unprecedented find is currently on its way to the San Diego Museum of Natural History for a possible positive identification by taking exact measurements.

Just got a call from Henry Detwiler about 11:45am Sept 19. They are currently looking at 11 BLUE-FOOTED BOOBY on the northwest side of Obsidian Butte. They are near a favorite camp spot of mine, that I created a Google Map for some time ago. If you use the map, stop short of the camp spot and fire ring or you will likely flush the birds off of the huge obsidian boulder they are perching on just offshore.

The map can be viewed by clicking HERE.

One Response to “Blue-footed Booby at Salton Sea”

  1. Lunatic Chick Says:
    Bet you’re having real fun now!