6 Nov 2014

6 Nov 14 - Birding On Pitcairn Island

As we got to the top of the hill above the quay on Pitcairn, we quickly ran into our first Pitcairn Reed Warbler near the first houses in the small settlement of Adamstown. Worries about getting photos of this individual proved unnecessary, as we quickly found it was a common species on the island & the only Passerine on the island.
Pitcairn Reed Warbler: In less than 2 hours of walking around, I saw 22 individuals, with territories spread throughout the cultivated & wooded parts of the island
Pitcairn Reed Warbler: This looks the natural colouration. There doesn't seem to be any black morph in this species
Pitcairn Reed Warbler: Whereas, this individual looks like it is more inbred with leucistic colouration appearing
Pitcairn Reed Warbler: They can really puff out their crown feathers when they wanted
Pitcairn Reed Warbler: Another view of the same individual
Pitcairn Reed Warbler: A more natural looking individual
Pitcairn Reed Warbler: But this one has a lot of leucistic colouration in the wings
Pitcairn Reed Warbler: With no other Passerines, they there are plenty on niches on the Island for the Pitcairn Reed Warbler to fill: in this case acting like a Thrush on what passes for a local lawn
Pitcairn Reed Warbler
Pitcairn Reed Warbler
So a 100% clean up on the Pitcairn Passerines. But there are other Birds nesting on Pitcairn: the most obvious of which are the Great Frigatebirds & White Terns.
Great Frigatebird: Adult male. The near black colouration on the underparts indicates this is a nearly adult male. This is the palmerstoni subspecies which occurs in the West & Central Pacific. Four other subspecies occur elsewhere in the tropical & sub-tropical oceans
Great Frigatebird: Subadult male. The white is restricted to the belly & doesn't clearly go onto the axillaries as it would if it was a Lesser Frigatebird
Great Frigatebird: Juvenile. The extensive white head extending as far as the lower belly, makes this a fairly easy age to separate from Lesser Frigatebird
Great Frigatebird: Juvenile. Another Family Photo Tick
White Tern: This is the leucopes which occurs on Pitcairn & Henderson Islands. I'm not sure how it differs from the more widespread candida subspecies which occurs from the Seychelles & Mascarene Islands to the South Pacific including French Polynesia as well as Hawaii, Clipperton & Cocos Islands
White Tern: It is a real pity it was raining heavily when I took this photo
Another common species on Pitcairn were these Dark-waist Paper Wasps. They are native to Japan, but have been introduced on a number of Pacific Islands including Hawaii, the Cook Islands, the Pitcairn Islands & the Tuamotu Islands. They are larger than the Wasp species found in the UK being about an inch long, with distinctive and much longer trailing hind legs.
Dark-waist Paper Wasp: Despite being fairly common, they were very active & difficult to get close to for photos