Brown Booby on Cayuga Lake………YES!

This Long-billed Dowitcher has mostly transitioned to basic plumage.

This Long-billed Dowitcher has mostly transitioned to basic plumage.


This morning I headed to Cayuga Lake’s north end to try for the BROWN BOOBY that has been being reported since Saturday. I decided to head up the west side of the lake as I had seen that many of the reports came from Cayuga Lake State Park on Lower Lake Road. This paid off nicely as I was immediately able to spot Buoy #49 and the booby was sitting on it as predicted! At first, the bird sat flat on the lower portion of the buoy. Shortly, a Great Black-backed Gull flew in and landed on the water. The Booby stood up, assuming a distinct booby silhouette. It then began to preen. It soon started flapping its wings rapidly, but didn’t take flight. As it did this, its white belly and dark brown breast showed nicely. Though the views were distant, they were diagnostic to species. Photos weren’t possible with my camera. From there I went to Montezuma NWR to try for several species that have been being seen recently. I dipped on Eurasian Wigeon and White-rumped Sandpiper even though they were reported today. I did however have great looks at a LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER! This bird is always a challenge for me. Even though I have finally gotten the juvenile Longbilled’s down, adults are still tough. I know that they have been being reported at the marsh for some time, but this was the only individual present this morning. A group of us discussed the ID. Due to the hunch-backed stance, brown under-belly right to the vent and the heavily barred tertials (Alternate) and the very long bill, we concluded it was indeed a Long-billed Dowitcher. Can’t wait for the day this one just comes naturally like most other birds.
Long-billed Dowitcher - note the hunch back and the lack of white in the under-belly.

Long-billed Dowitcher – note the hunch back and the lack of white in the under-belly.

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