10 Oct 2018

23 Apr 18 - Atlantic Odyssey - Day Twenty Five: Ascension Island Frigatebird

The previous Post covered the Seabirds we saw on the early morning visit the Plancius made to Boatswainbird Island. We also saw large numbers of Ascension Island Frigatebirds, which deserve their own Post, given it is the breeding endemic Seabird at Ascension Island with around 10,000 pairs. The main colony is on Boatswainbird Island, although following the removal of feral cats on the island & the placing of model Frigatebirds, the first pairs were encouraged to breed again on the mainland in 2012. Ultimately, expanding the colony will give the opportunity to grow the size of the population.
Part of the main Ascension Island Frigatebird colony
A close up of part of the Ascension Island colony
The Ascension Island Frigatebirds were constantly patrolling the skies
Ascension Island Frigatebird: Juveniles are very obvious with their white heads, white chests & broken breast band
Ascension Island Frigatebird: Juvenile
Ascension Island Frigatebird: Juvenile at Boatswainbird Island (24 Apr 18)
Ascension Island Frigatebird: Juvenile at Boatswainbird Island (24 Apr 18)
Ascension Island Frigatebird: Juvenile at Boatswainbird Island (24 Apr 18)
Ascension Island Frigatebird: Juvenile chasing a Brown Booby at Boatswainbird Island (24 Apr 18)
Ascension Island Frigatebird: Juvenile chasing an immature Red-footed Booby at Boatswainbird Island (24 Apr 18)
Ascension Island Frigatebird: Subadult females are identified by the white axillaries and a paler brown collar & breast band
Ascension Island Frigatebird: Subadult female doing what Frigatebirds do best to get food by terrorising the nearest Seabird such as this Masked Booby
Ascension Island Frigatebird: Adult Female look all dark, but have the dark brown neck collar & no red throat
Ascension Island Frigatebird: Immature male showing a white belly & axillaries and a red throat. Photographed over the Green Turtle beach (24 Apr 18)
Ascension Island Frigatebird: Immature male showing a partial white belly & axillaries and a red throat. Photographed at Boatswainbird Island (24 Apr 18)
Ascension Island Frigatebird: Subadult male showing the red throat & white axillaries at Boatswainbird Island (24 Apr 18)
Ascension Island Frigatebird: Adult males have a red throat & do not have a brown collar & breast band
Ascension Island Frigatebird: Adult male
Ascension Island Frigatebird: Adult male showing the red throat & a small metallic pectoral patch when the sun catches it. Photographed over the Green Turtle beach (24 Apr 18)
After an hour or so at Boatswainbird Island, we headed off for Georgetown: the main settlement on the island. The photographers wanted more time at Boatswainbird Island as we were leaving just as the early morning light was improving. There were so may Seabirds around it had been difficult to get as many photos as any of us would have liked, especially as sometimes I had to lower the camera to just enjoy the overall spectacle. However, we had to get to Georgetown & clear customs, as we had a busy day planned on the island. So, we really needed to crack on for Georgetown.
Some good rock layers confirm this is a volcanic island
The surf was rough in places
There was a wind farm & another communication base en route to Georgetown
A wider view of Ascension Island with Georgetown at the right-hand side of the photo
Georgetown in the distance
Historical gun emplacements on the hillside above Georgetown
Another base high up on the top of the volcano

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