In early January 2017 a new bird was spotted amongst the gannets at the Muriwai Gannet Colony near Auckland. News travels fast creating quite a stir amongst local bird watchers and nature photographers. This beautiful intruder became the most photographed bird of the month.
The red-footed booby has never previously been seen on the New Zealand mainland. Two were spotted the previous year near the Kermadec Islands. This species is the smallest of the gannet and booby family and comes in sub-species. The Muriwai visitor has red feet, pale blue bill and black tail and wing markings and is a white morph, more common to the Galapagos Islands than the South Pacific. On February 23rd I had the opportunity to visit Muriwai and see this bird myself. Two days later it was reported gone so I am thanking my lucky stars I got to see it before it left.
As well as getting excellent views of the booby I also managed to get some photos of the adorable, white, fluffy gannet chicks.