Saturday, July 6, 2013

Frigatebird update! 1000 hours 6.7.2013.

Attempts to relocate the Ascension Island Frigatebird on Islay this morning have been unsuccessful ( so far! )

I was at Bowmore Harbour or nearby between 0500 hours and 0830 hours this morning and had no sightings of the bird.  Local fishermen who have gone out this morning have been asked to report any sightings farther afield. I've also checked all the jetties and piers along the 20 mile journey back to home, but with no joy!!

Having met the person who took the photographs yesterday, the overall picture has become a little more precise in its content. He first saw the bird whilst on a pre-breakfast walk around Bowmore Harbour, took photographs and discussed the matter with local fishermen.  He then went for breakfast and returned later. It was at that point that the flight shot was taken as the bird towered over Bowmore. It was being badly harassed by gulls and was last seen around 800 m further south over Loch Indaal.

It was not seen on a boat out at sea! The reference was when it was around/on a boat whilst the latter was still in the harbour. This puts all the sightings into an hour's timeframe ( approx. 0900 -1000 hours yesterday ). A report has circulated, without supporting detail whatsoever, of a sighting of the bird at the head of Loch Indaal at 1600 hours, but no verification or further information has emerged.

I think the person who took the photographs deserves a big "thank you"  as he drove from Bowmore to the RSPB office at Gruinart to show them the photographs and it was at that point, or a little later, that the identification was made. He goes home today and was in two minds whether to follow things up yesterday or wait until he got home!!!

Given the small number of active birders on Islay the bird,s apparent absence doesn't necessarily mean it has left!  Islay's a big place and not all shore/sea areas are easily covered. Don't lose hope!

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