Birding with Dave: March 24

Wednesday’s birding boat trip is more than just a boat trip — it is a small nature school on the water! When you take this trip, you will learn about birds, dolphins, and whales.

The yacht we travel on is a 41′ Hatteras cabin cruiser complete with inside bathroom, handy for the ladies and the men. The trip takes about 1.5 to 2 hours and many days, we encounter all three mentioned above.

The route of the trip takes us past Indian Head Rock and then east to San Nicholas Rock to view the Blue-footed boobies, Brown boobies, Great blue herons and Double-crested cormorants. Last week, we saw a couple of herons nesting, and some cormorants were building their nests. There are also numerous pelicans flying overhead or just hanging out on the rocks with their seabird friends.

Pictured on the rocks (left to right) is a brown pelican, a blue-footed booby, a brown booby, and another blue footed booby. This bird is easily recognizable by its distinctive bright blue feet, which can range in color from a pale turquoise to a deep aquamarine. The blue color of the blue-footed booby’s webbed feet comes from carotenoid obtained from its diet of fresh fish. The brightness of the feet decreases with age. Males and younger birds have lighter colored feet, while females (who are often larger than the males) have darker feet. Their courtship consists of the male flaunting his blue feet and dancing to impress the female. During the dance, the male will spread his wings and stamp his feet on the ground.

Click here to see a video of the Blue-footed booby dance (filmed in the Galapagos).

From here, we head east, to motor past Honeymoon Island, where hundreds of Brown pelicans are nesting, and then further east towards Pilar Condominiums to find our local pod of dolphins. Once found, they will play with the yacht until we head west to check out Martini Cove.

On the way to the Cove, we will keep a sharp lookout for whale spouts. Lately, the whales have been coming through the area quite frequently. Last week we were thrilled to see a pod of 5 or 6 Gray whales that gave us an amazing show!

I plan to do these trips once a week on Wednesdays. At a price of 150 pesos, it is a very affordable way to see the seabirds and sea life up close and personal. Email me at and I will add you to my Birder mailing list so you know when we’re going out next.

Happy Birding! by Dave Verner.

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