Red-billed Tropicbird on Lord Howe Island - an update

Subject: Red-billed Tropicbird on Lord Howe Island - an update
From: "Mike Carter" <>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 2010 16:06:35 +1100
Hank Bower, senior author of the submission to BARC, tells me that the bird is still there and showing daily. I saw it on 19 November. A photo of mine of the bird on the 'nest' is on Eremaea and hopefully on Birding-Aus (Russell?). The 'nest' is atop a 180 m precipice and I accessed it with Ian Hutton carefully guiding my every step down a rather precarious 20 m scramble, dislodging rocks enroute,
from a formed walking track above. For safety reasons this has now been
closed so observing the bird in its niche is not now allowed. But the bird
can still be seen from a viewing ledge above as it moves out from the roosting/nesting cavity and then in flight soaring with Red-tailed Tropicbirds
over the cliffs below. That is unless the cloud level drops to envelop the
mountains as it did the day I was there! For me, this had one advantage
as the surrounding cloud dispelled the vertigo I experienced in
clearer air with the potential fall visible as I climbed to the nest!
It usually starts to call, a loud repeated Kestrel like 'kek', gets restless and eager to take a flight about midday but also does so later in the afternoon. As one might expect its plumage matches that of the subspecies mesonauta that occurs in the eastern Pacific rather than the nominate race from the tropical Atlantic or indicus from the far NW Indian Ocean.

Mike Carter
30 Canadian Bay Road
Mount Eliza  VIC 3930
Tel  (03) 9787 7136


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