Sula leucogaster in Florida

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At Blowing Rocks Preserve on Jupiter Island today I saw my first…

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Brown Booby!

A widespread seabird of tropical waters, the Brown Booby ranges as far north as the Gulf of California, and rarely to both coasts of the United States. Like other boobies, it feeds with spectacular plunges into the sea.

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This is a young Sula Leucogaster.  There were two others nearby. All three were plunge-diving for fish.

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I guessed by its shape and behavior that it was a member of the booby/ gannet family. I have seen Northern Gannets off the Florida coast. I googled for photos and info. Oddly enough, the image search for “boobies in Florida” didn’t turn up many birds. Finally I posted a photo to What’s This Bird on Facebook and got the Brown Booby confirmation.

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It’s blogged bird #185 for me, woot!

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Audubon

Tropical seas around the world are home to this large, long-winged, strong-flying seabird. In North America it is seen most often near the Dry Tortugas, Florida, where it perches in trees or on navigational markers. It may have nested on the Florida Keys in the past, but the only United States nesting sites today are in Hawaii.

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Look at those long, strong wings.

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Lots of weed in the surf today. And fish too. A guy fishing down the beach said there were lots of “glass minnows” and tarpon were hitting them.

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Among the terns and gulls, the boobies were a special sight today.

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At high tide when the surf is a bit stirred up it can look very dramatic at Blowing Rocks, thanks to the shelf of Anastasia limestone (aka coquina) along the beach.

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Blowing Rocks Preserve is an environmental preserve on Jupiter Island in Hobe Sound, Martin County, Florida, USA. It is owned by The Nature Conservancy. It contains the largest Anastasia limestone outcropping on the state’s east coast. Breaking waves spray plumes of water through erosion holes; the spray can reach heights of 50 feet (15 m). This distinctive spectacle thus earned the limestone outcrop’s name. The limestone outcropping also encompasses coquina shells, crustaceans, and sand.

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A Coast Guard boat passed just offshore.

Location…

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