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#ABArare – Blue-footed Booby – New Mexico

New Mexico’s second Blue-footed Booby (Code 4) was found at Chaparral Park in Lovington on Aug 11. Found by Ree Hoyl, it was on the only lake in the park.

ABArare Blue-footed Booby
photo by Ree Hoyl

Lovington is on the eastern plains of New Mexico. The state’s first Blue-footed Booby was also on the eastern plains at Conchas Lake in August 2009. This species sporadically disperses in the Southwest from the Gulf of California. In the ABA Area, it’s most frequently found at the Salton Sea in California. (I use the term “frequently” loosely. Years can go by without any records.) It’s also been found inland in Arizona. For example, one was found at a small lake, similar to the one at Chaparral Park, near Phoenix in 1996. There are also some coastal records.

To get to Chaparral Park, located on the east side of Lovington, take South Commercial Street south from Highway 83. Go approximately 0.3 miles and then turn left (east) into Chaparral Park. The park road ends at a parking area next to the lake. The lake is small and it should be easy to find the booby if it’s still present. (Map available here.)

Blue-footed Booby is a resident of the eastern Pacific Ocean where it breeds on islands of the Gulf of California south to Peruvian waters.  It has been a sporadic visitor to SoCal (Salton Sea) and even inland California, and as far north as Washington.  It has also shown up in southern Nevada and in southwestern Arizona, and one was at Lake Lyndon B. Johnson, TX,  from 2 June 1993 – 6 October 1994 (ABA Checklist, Seventh Edition, Pranty, et. al.).  This species makes periodic movements into the ABA Area, “with only one flight year (1990) since 1977”. (ABA Checklist).

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John Puschock

John Puschock

John Puschock reports ABA rare bird alerts and manages #ABArare for the American Birding Association. John is a frequent participant in rare bird forums around the web and has knack for gathering details necessary to relocate birds. He has been a birder since 1984 and now leads tours for Bird Treks, as well as for his own company Zugunruhe Birding Tours. He has led tours to locations across North America, from Newfoundland to New Mexico and from Costa Rica to Alaska. He specializes in leading tours to Adak in the Aleutian Islands.
  • Edge Wade

    I’ve just come home from the 2,000 mile round trip to Lovington, NM. I arrived at 7:30 a.m. yesterday, Aug. 13, and stayed around the area for about 4 hours. In that time, two park employees came by and I took the opportunity to talk to them about the Blue-footed Booby. They were as interested in the Great Blue Heron as the booby until I showed them the range map in the book. That prompted them to call other park employees and a local newspaper reporter. Slowly, the folks of Lovington were becoming aware of what a great find Ree Hoyl had!

    In the time I was there, only four other birders came: Danny Hancock from Lubbock, and Steve Smith and two others from Roswell. A code 4 bird with few observers. The window to see it after Ree’s report was short, as it was picked up for rehab yesterday afternoon.

    My thanks to Ree for the initial report and to others who kept us updated.

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