Inland Empire bird enthusiasts will be delighted to hear that something unique and wonderful is happening right now at Lake Skinner! Blue-footed boobies – short-legged diving sea birds known for their bright-blue webbed feet, and normally residents of the far-away Galapagos Islands – have come to visit the Temecula Valley. Their usual range extends only as far north as Mexico’s Gulf of California, but in recent weeks they have been making appearances along the California coast in surprising numbers and have even been reported as far north as Marin County. “For people who are interested in birding, this is fantastic,” said Kevin Brennan, a biologist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The name “booby” is thought to derive from a Spanish word for clown or fool, because of the birds’ funny waddling gait on land and fearlessness of humans, according to the website of the Galapagos Conservation Trust. Adult boobies have bright blue feet and a lovable, cartoonish look, but those stopping by Temecula Valley — like others recently seen around California — are juveniles without the distinctive coloring. For bird watchers and the generally curious alike, this is a rare opportunity to observe a special species of bird that normally makes its home over 3000 miles away. Bring a picnic and spend the day observing the unusual blue-footed boobies while also enjoying all the other fantastic amenities Lake Skinner Recreation Area has to offer.