Date: 3/3/23 11:53 am From: <sshultz...> Subject: RE: Red-footed Booby
Happy Friday to those out there in birdville.
A bit more detail on a completely unexpected and amazing sighting this morning and early afternoon at Yates Mill County Park in Wake County, NC.
A Red-footed Booby (Sula sula) was found by Robert Oberfelder around 11 a.m. Friday, March 3. Photos of the birds quickly circulated on the local and state group chats, and within a short period of time scores of observers, some casual and wondering what all the fuss was about, others breaking land speed records from various locations, and at least one arriving by bicycle, arrived to see the bird perched on an under-construction boardwalk spanning the relatively small mill pond.
The bird remained in view, often with head tucked in and apparently sleeping, until it flew from the park at around 1:12 pm. The bird has not been relocated, although plenty of folks are out scouring lakes, ponds, and large bathtubs in hopes that the bird remains in the area.
Red-footed Booby is an extremely rare species for NC, and rare for the United States in general. There is one prior accepted record for the state, that of a bird photographed from a cruise ship transiting NC waters.
This is the first inland report for the state, and appears to be one of only a handful of prior inland report for the United States (I could find one for a site in Louisiana that does not appear to be as far inland as the Raleigh bird, and one is Florida that is arguably inland, not much of that state is far from ocean water).
Red-footed Booby is a pan-tropical sulid that breeds as close to NC as the Caribbean, where it is uncommon. Red-footed occur in two color phases, light (resembling Masked Booby) and dark (somewhat resembling young Brown Booby, but nonetheless distinctive). This bird is a dark-phase bird that showed the diagnostic red feet as well as a bluish bill, pink bare facial skin, brown upperparts, gray/white throat, and mottled white and brown underparts.
An amazing and completely unexpected treat for central NC birders!