Thursday, April 17, 2008

Corondo Islands

We traveled through the night from long beach to San Diego Wednesday arriving at 7am with a group of scientists from California Institute of Environmental Studies waiting at the boat ramp. Wasting no time we headed strait to the Coronado Islands an important nesting ground for a wide variety of birds ranging from pelicans to Periguin falcons.

In the last few years there has been a new addition to the myriad birds nesting in this area, the Brown Footed Boobie Sula leucogaster, making this the farthest north this species has ever been recorded to roost. The colony first established itself roughly three years ago with just a few roosting birds on the middle rock of the Coronado’s. However the popularity of this region for nesting seems to be growing and this year we saw them nesting in previously unused areas of the island.

Since we are in Ensenada tonight and not having to upload via our slow and expensive satellite internet connection we are going photo happy. The two photos of birds show both juvenile and adult phases of the Brown Footed Boobie, along with a shot of the main nesting ground, and a picture of North Coronado Island taken from the south end.
more to come hopefully tomorrow,
Jeff Ernst


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Sr. Chief said...

I must have messed up. My last post never showed. I was asking if there is a theory that the Boobies are moving north because of global warming?
Side note for Jeff: Your AT&T phone is automatically able to be used in Mexico. It is 99 cents/min to call the USA from Mexico and The cost for us to call you from the USA is a standard long distance charge.

Thump Thump Eyes said...

Yes, I was also wondering about your thoughts on why these birds are moving north?

Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your voyage too by the way :)

ORV Alguita said...

Dr. Palacios and Dr. Gress answer the question about moving north as follows:
All birds expand and contract their ranges based on many factors, food availability, habitat availability and also climate. There is no evidence currently that this range expansion is climate related, but it is important to monitor populations on the periphery of their ranges because they would be most sensitive to shifts in climate.

Thump Thump Eyes said...

Thanks for your comment, has the climate changed dramatically in the last few years in the areas around these islands?

I'm in Western Australia and over the last few years we have definitely seen major changes in rainfall and temperature, especially this year with much more rain.

We have a chain-of-ponds close by which are fenced off as a protected area for birds, and this year we have seen birds that have never been here before. I dont know what they are, but they seem to be mingling well with the other local birds and ducks. On Sunday when the shopping centre across the road was closed, these new birds were in a big group wandering through the carpark foraging, it was an interesting sight, but unfortunately I didnt have my trusty camera around at the time. I guess its a similar thing to what you're seeing there, birds moving further out than ever before seeking food and new places for shelter.