Ascension : Ascension Island Conservation Department
Submitted by The Islander (Conservation Office) 21.10.2010 (Article Archived on 04.11.2010)
At Letterbox this year, we have had 503 Masked Boobie nest attempts so far
RSPB Seabird Restoration Project. An update by Nathan Fowler and Dane Wade.
At Letterbox this year, we have had 503 Masked Boobie nest attempts so far. Most of the chicks have fledged from these nests now, however, recently a few more birds are starting to pair up on the plateaus. We are monitoring Brown Boobies nesting along the coast of South East bay, some with eggs, others with small chicks and there are a few chicks in there fledging stage. There are also Red Billed Tropic nests located in small crevices around the costal areas of bottle point and along South East bay. There are a number of Brown Noddie nesting in this area as well.
The spreading of the Ratac wax blocks (rat poison) to control rat numbers in the seabird grounds has resulted in an increase in the nesting success this year. We have noted little predation on both eggs and chicks this season. Recently 99 juvenile Masked boobies were counted roosting upon Mandela ridge, these had fledged earlier in the year. 103 adult Masked Boobies were counted in a colony located at the top part of Mandela ridge.
At Waterside and Mars bay fairs, most of the chicks have fledged from both areas. We set up two nest cameras out at Mars bay in order to study the behaviour of Sooty terns, identify any rat activity and to check for predation. Since setting up the nest cameras, we have just seen one rat moving around the area. We have also recently taken 20-30 GPS reading around the perimeters of the main nesting areas and all the sub colonies at both Mars bay and Waterside fairs. This data will be used to update our GIS system, so we are able to compare the nesting area this year with previous years. The colony areas are also used to estimate the number of breeding pairs of Sooty terns this season. Since spreading Ratac wax blocks through the two fairs on a regular basis, there has been little rat predation this season.
Sooty terns at Mars Bay
Volunteers welcome. Please contact Olivia Renshaw or Natasha Williams. Ascension Island Conservation Department. Georgetown. Tel: 6359. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org