We've written many blogs about the wonderful work ongoing in Ascension, and at last we have the news we've been waiting for – the Ascension frigatebird is back breeding on the main island!
After six years of being pronounced free of feral cats because of an extensive eradication programme run by the Ascension Island Government Conservation Department and the RSPB, two frigatebirds were found nesting on the 1st of December 2012, over 180 years after the last successful attempt. Major Andrew Bray of the Army Ornithological Society (regular major contributors to ongoing monitoring work) was the lucky guy to make the find, not far from Boatswainbird Island, until now the last remaining toehold for this species.
This is a major success for conservation, and aptly coinciding with the early stages of the Darwin project to assess biodiversity across this UK Overseas Territory.
Not to be churlish, but the only slight disappointment is that the birds were not at either of our decoy sites, but hey, that's something it is going to be easy to live with!
From a personal note, having been involved with Ascension on and off for almost a decade, I am delighted – as are the many people who have worked over the years to help restore this island. And as the RSPB's Species Action Plan Manager for the frigatebird, I am really looking forwards to writing next year's update…it's always great to pass on good news.
You can read more in this article from the Guardian/Observer.
Female frigatebird on egg (Derren Fox)
PS - the team on Ascension have set up nest cameras to watch the behaviour of the birds, so no doubt we'll have more news soon.