LaJolla Cove, LaJolla, San Diego County
10 January 2002
A large booby or gannet like bird, white with black wings and tail.
The bill was long and pointed, dull yellow toward the tip, but much darker at the base. However the yellow of the tip extended as a narrow stripe along the tomium at the base of the bill to the gape. A narrow black border was visible where the bill met the forehead. The culmen curved downward slightly at the tip and upward in the middle forming a slight saddle
The eye was yellow with a black pupil. There was faint brown smudging on the forehead and cheeks.
The primaries, secondaries and tertials were black. The greater coverts and a narrow row of median coverts were also black contrasting with a pale area on the distal lesser coverts. Proximal lesser coverts were heavy speckled with black, but the marginal coverts appeared white.
The uderwing coverts were white with dusky marking in the center. The alula was dark.
The tail was long and pointed and black, but white at the base when seen from above. The back was white, but the lower back and rump were heavily spotted with blackish.
All flight feathers appeared heavily worn and abraded.
The feet and legs were gray with a slight pinkish tinge visible in the webs of the toes. The feet were fully webbed with three webs visible on each foot. Two black caruncles were visible on the rear of the right leg and there was a hole in the right web of the right foot.
As we watched the bird regurgitated a clear liquid. When to flew it appeared to fly well. The wings were long
and pointed and it glided with wings bowed slightly down. A Western Gull harassed it while it flew.
The is the fourth Masked Booby I have seen in California. Prior sightings were from the Salinas River mouth, Monterey County; Point Mugu Naval Air Station, Ventura County; and Ano Nuevo Island, San Mateo County.