Ascension : Conservation Weekly
Submitted by The Islander (Conservation Office) 15.07.2010 (Article Archived on 29.07.2010)
In the Letterbox areas we now have in the region of 325 Masked Boobie nests, mainly upon Mandela ridge.
Ascension Island Conservation Department
Update from the seabird restoration team
In the Letterbox areas we now have in the region of 325 Masked Boobie nests, mainly upon Mandela ridge. This is the highest number recorded since the eradication of the feral cats. There are many chicks now in their fledging stage. We have three nest cameras on Mandela ridge constantly monitoring the status of the nests. This enables us to pick up any evidence of predation on the eggs and small chicks, mainly by rats. There are quite a few more Brown Boobies nesting at South East bay. The brown noddie chicks here have reached the fledging stage. There are still several getting ready to set up new nesting sites.
Masked boobie and chick at Letterbox
We have been regularly distributing rat poison (Ratac wax blocks) around the bird monitoring areas of Letterbox and the Wideawake fairs (Mars bay and Waterside).
This reduces the numbers of rats predating the eggs and chicks in these areas. In these large nesting sites we have been focusing on spreading the poison in the hotspot areas.
At Mars Bay the Sooty terns started to lay their eggs on the 23rd April 2010. A lot of the Sooty terns have young chicks, from one to four weeks old and a few of the Sooty terns are still on eggs.
The turtle season is just about finished now. The adults, on the majority of beaches, have stopped nesting. There are still babies hatching that can be seen after dark. Turtle Tours will start again in December/January run by the Conservation Department.
Volunteers welcome. Please contact Olivia Renshaw or Natasha Williams. Ascension Island Conservation Department. Georgetown. Tel: 6359. Email: email@example.com