Thursday 31 August 2023

Red-Footed Booby on Bishop Rock

                                            21st August 2023 :  Bishop Rock

                                            Isle of Scilly plus Scillonian Crossings  


1st summer Pale Morph Red-Footed Booby.

As the title of this blog states, on Monday 21st August i joined my birding pal RR on the Scillonian MV heading towards St. Mary's, Isle of Scilly and then on to the pelagic vessel the Sapphire out towards Bishop Rock.

Our target bird was the quite exceptional Red-Footed Booby which had been remarkably seen on one of the previous weeks Pelagic trips!!

It was refound by the same expert crew from the Sapphire roosting on the Bishop Rock lighthouse a few days later.

We arrived on St. Mary's at approx 12pm and then went straight onto the Sapphire and we then headed off towards the Bishop Rock lighthouse, there had been no news all morning if the Red-Footed Booby was still present or not ??!!

We eventually reached Bishop Rock and the holy grail was sat up high  on the mesh , a huge sigh of relief & joy throughout the boat as we all connected with this remarkable bird.
Here is a small selection of the photos i took of the Red-Footed Booby :

Having a preen

Reddish feet

Pinkish bill

Red-Footed Booby.

The captain of the Sapphire Joe Pender did a great job manoeuvring his boat to get us the best possible views for which i am very grateful.

Other birds seen from the Sapphire were several close Cory's Shearwater, 1 Great Shearwater & a possible Scopoli's Shearwater.

Here are a selection of Cory's Shearwater photo's :

Cory's Shearwater.

Here are a couple of photo's of the possible Scopoli's Shearwater (any opinions on this appreciated)  :

Possible Scopoli's Shearwater.

We had a great crossing both ways on the Scillonian where it was great to bump into Rafael Mitchell & Mark Dawson .

We saw 70+ Cory's Shearwaters, 2 Great Shearwaters, 3 Sooty Shearwaters, 1 Balearic Shearwater, 100's of Manx Shearwaters, 25+ Storm Petrels, 1 Arctic Skua & 1 Adult Long Tailed Skua.

We also saw a Risso's Dolphin & several Common Dolphins from the Scillonian plus a Sunfish & several Grey Seals  from the Sapphire.

Manx Shearwater.

Manx Shearwater.

Long Tailed Skua photo by Mark Dawson.

Long Tailed Skua Photo by Mark Dawson.

Many thanks to Mark Dawson for allowing me to use his superb photos of the Long Tailed Skua on my blog.




  1. Good morning. Are you the Rob who was birding at Rainham yesterday, Sept. 16, when the skua species was seen? If not, apologies. If yes, any more notion from photos what skua species it was? Many regards, Terry

    1. Hi Terry, yes that was me, it has been confirmed as a Juv Long tailed Skua as we suspected , further photos & a video help clinch the ID thankfully .