Brown Booby

Sula leucogaster


eBird Checklist S46244840
Schoodic Island--waters just to east
Hancock, Maine, United States
Search this location, Illustrated Checklist
Latitude and Longitude 44.3255, -68.0239 Map



44°19'31.253" N 68°1'7.403" W

Observation details

Immature bird off port side spotted by Marshall Iliff. We stopped to pursue it and to get closer and were able to maneuver in for stellar looks and photos. The bird was circling and making dives, or dive attempts, about 0.5-1.0 km east and east-southeast of the southern tip of Schoodic Island. Noted in the field: ghost of adult pattern (pale underwings and pale belly contrasting sharply with dark breast), posterior to solidly brown breast, the abdomen was mottled gray and brown; the underwings showed paler grayish and whitish feathers along the median and greater coverts [not noted in field but visible in photos were whiter and presumably newer long axillary feathers], with contrastingly darker leading edge and trailing edge. Bill was gray (but see photos for details and coloration). Leg color not noted (yellowish in photos). Typical sulid shape but more graceful and rakish outline compared to Northern Gannet, with thinner wings, longer tail, and more often crooked wing profile. Most telling difference was maneuverability--seen diving in angled dives among gull flock, usually flaring its tail widely when diving and wings bowed and flexed more than typical of gannet. Fourth record for Maine and first seen by birders. Previous records: adult or near adult female 17 Sep 2017 (MEBRC 2017-033) over Schoodic Ridges, Hancock Co., photographed standing on boat of lobsterman Phillip Torrey; immature perched on rocks 16 Jul 2013 (MEBRC 2013-005) at Eastern Egg Rock and photographed by Project Puffin volunteer Kate MacNamee (then a student at Colby College); and an adult photographed 12 Aug 2011 (MEBRC 2011-007) over “The Football” ledge 12 miles east of Portland by Josh Delcourt and others on Odyssey Whale Watch trip. In the past decades Brown Boobies have staged a major movement up the Atlantic Coast, up the Pacific Coast, and to the Gulf Coast if Texas, and even inland, so while unexpected in Maine, this record occurred in the context of a larger-scale pattern of increased occurrence in the Atlantic. The previous pattern was for late summer and fall records north of the usual range, but 2017 had at least 7 records from s. NJ north to Nova Scotia from 7 April to 22 June.

Technical Information

Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Lens model
EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM
Focal length
371 mm
Shutter speed
1/1600 sec
Flash did not fire, auto
Original file size
2048 x 1365

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