By ERIKA I. RITCHIE |
PUBLISHED: May 15, 2018 at 5:41 am | UPDATED: May 15, 2018 at 5:43 am
DANA POINT — As Mark Tyson watched a flock of seagulls chase a larger white bird, he knew the latter was something he had never seen before. And, he thought, if he was right, the large seabird was hundreds, if not thousands, of miles outside of its typical range.
On Sunday, May 13, Tyson, a naturalist on Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari, was out on a whale-watch trip four miles off Strand Beach when he spotted a group of common dolphins feeding on fish. Seagulls were hovering above hoping to share in some of the spoils when Tyson, of San Juan Capistrano, caught a glimpse of the unusual seabird.
“I realized I’d never seen that type of bird before,” he said. “It was a masked booby, which is extremely rare here. Every time the seagulls would dive down for a fish, you’d see the booby on the water and he would immediately be chased with the fish he caught.”
A masked booby, with a body typically three inches larger than that of a California seagull, is most commonly found in tropical oceans. It’s territory is below the 30th parallel near Baja and in the Southern Hemisphere.