My first site of my rare bird was waiting on the top edge of the island and silhouetted against the blue sky. I immediately was a snap happy camper.
We drew in closer and they watched us carefully as our boat avoided crashing against the rocks. They seemed to be puffing out their chests and looking condescendingly down on another boatload of gawking overweight tourists.
If you look closer and click on the photos below you can see the blue feet of my bucket bird, the rare blue-footed booby. Below, one has just taken flight. Be sure to click on the photos for a larger view. They are mixed in with the red billed seagull who is impressive in his own coloring style. The blue footed booby males lift and plant their blue feet as part of a stylized mating dance which can be seen at the dance link. Since the female only mates with the bluest-footed dude she can find, each new booby generation is assured of having bright blue feet. They got the “booby” moniker from Spanish explorers, who called them bobos, which means “dummies.” The birds were not afraid of humans and showed no fear. The explorers thought that was unintelligent behavior, because it made the birds an easy catch for dinner. According to Wiki "The blue color of the webbed feet in Blue-footed Boobies comes from carotenoid pigments obtained from the diet. The pigments are antioxidants and stimulants for the immune system, so there is a trade-off between immune function and signaling, since any incorporation of the pigments into the feet is a direct detraction from those that could be used for immunity and detoxification." The color blue must come from blue algae I am guessing. Scientists have done some experiments with hiding foot color in males and females after mate selection and found some interesting change in both egg size produced and care of young.