Well since the last posting I have returned back to the island and also returned back out to open water from the island. This involved 2 different 2 day pelagics overnighting on the boat. This week was the first time that I had actually got the kit and ingredients to make a good chum. This was prepared on the island and allowed to rot or marinate depending on your view of chum for a few days. Onion bags are not available here but I did manage to find some very good net bags which are a good size, has good sized mesh-netting and most important of all are very strong. Image above and the 6 below show you an adult male Lesser Frigatebird, one of the 30+ birds present. I have seen Lesser Frigatebirds previously off of the islands of both Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta, southern Thailand as well in these waters but they have always been circling high above. To actually see them low down, coming in and taking scraps from the surface of the water really did change my view of these birds. Their sheer power yet with such agility really did surprise me.
The shots here in this post were taken from the boat and we were lucky to have a flat & calm sea-state with good weather at the time. As during our time heading out we had several systems pass through us which included some real heavy rain, thunder & lightning and quite a choppy sea-state at times.
Image above shows what I mean by agility, as these birds came in they sometimes reminded me of both Red Kite and Honey Buzzard with their wings either raised high above the body or wings pushed back giving a similarity to the display flights of both HB and Red Kite. Image below shows the only Christmas Island Frigatebird we encountered on this trip, again I have luckily seen this species previously from Koh Pho Phi
Image above and below shows 2 different Bulwers Petrels of which a total of 5 sightings of at least 4 individuals. As you can see in these 2 photos the weather wasn't so good at this point. This is the fist time I have seen Bulwers in these waters and it was a nice moment when one bird came "in off" around the side of the boat and flew directly through the chum slick, twisting and turning as it flew through. A good sign that the chum was working although I regret not having my camera ready to hand. Other interesting sightings this trip involved 9 Pomarine & 4 Long Tailed Skua's. The usual Tern species and numbers. 2 Red necked Phalaropes with another raft of at least 12 Phalarope sp that we lost as soon as we got on to and a single bird that looked a good contender for a Grey Phalarope but lost to view and just couldn't relocate. A Greenshank heard calling over-head was a surprise as well as a small pod of around 7 Dolphin Sp which were small and dark that we hope to identify to species when we get access to a book and a single tiny baby Turtle sp that was seen at the surface briefly just as we were departing Tioman Island one morning.