Posted by: rlearmonth | August 30, 2008

Magnificent Frigate birds

One morning earlier in the week, I went out on the beach with a cup of coffee to see if anything interesting had washed up onto the beach. As I sat there, I saw a huge black bird hoving high above me, drifting effortlessly on the air currents. He resembled a huge ‘W’, with narrow wings and a long tapering tail. Guessing it was a Frigate bird, I looked it up on Wikipedia, which confirmed the guess. Later that afternoon, I walked along the beach with my binoculars, and was rewarded with the sight of four birds, cruising along the shoreline.

According to Wikipedia, Frigate birds do not have oily feathers, and mostly stay out of the water. They cannot take off from the water, and have short stubby legs, making them ungainly on land. What they can do is fly, and fly and fly, sometimes staying aloft for up to a week at a time, gliding on air currents on a wingspan that can reach two and a half meters. They commonly catch flying fish in the air, and are skilled at intimidating other sea birds and stealing their catch.

Frigate birds do not migrate, and I am hopeful that these have taken up residence in my part of the north coast. There is a nesting pair of Osprey (Sea Hawks) nearby, and it will be interesting to see if they can all manage to share sea and sky.

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