Pacific Shore Birds on Rose Atoll

I find that shore birds on distant Pacific islands can be hard to approach.  They are often far out on sand spits or rocky outcrops, and fly off as soon as one approaches.  On Rose Atoll, the southern-most US national monument and part of American Samoa, most of the birds seem fairly relaxed when faced with the rare human intruder to their sanctuary.  I suspect the shorebirds are different because they are migrants and often wary of humans.  An exception are the wonderfully named bristle thighed curlews that breed in remote areas of Alaska and winter on remote Pacific islands.  I have been lucky enough to see these birds in the Line Islands as well. They are flightless for a period during winter molt, so I presume that is why they are usually on secluded islands. As I sat near the high tide line a curlew came out of the bushes and posed for me.  You can see the untidy feathers around the thighs – hence the name.  Later photos show distant pacific golden plover and ruddy turnstones.

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Posted in American Samoa, birding, birdings, birds, environment, General, marine, Nature, ocean, outdoors, pacific islands, photography, Travel, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Anna’s Hummingbirds in La Jolla

During the winter in Southern California the hummingbirds are as busy as ever defending their territory and this male Anna’s Hummingbird was no exception.  He was so focused on defending his patch that he let me get very close.

 

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Masked Boobies: Rose Atoll Part Two

The Masked Booby is such an elegant bird however the young are endearing and almost comical – as the first two photographs show.  There were a few chicks and juveniles on Rose Island and I saw several adults flying.  The young were at the edge of the vegetation by the high tide line and appeared unperturbed  as we walked by.

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Rose Atoll, Remote US National Monument. Part One Brown Boobies

Rose Atoll is a tiny speck on the map in the Southern pacific and is part of American Samoa.  This remote place has one small island that you can walk around in twenty minutes but is home for over 300,000 seabirds.  This is the first of a series of blogs about this land of  sun and sand,  sky and sea, pink rocks and guano.  There are three species of Boobies nesting on Rose Island. The brown boobies always seem slightly comical on land but are so graceful in the air.

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Ofu Beach American Samoa National Park

The second island in American Samoa I visited was Ofu. It is joined by a slim suspension bridge to Olisega and together they are six kilometers long.  This isolated speck of paradise has steep verdant slopes of thick forest and a lagoon full of coral and bright reef fish.  The South side is part of American Samoa national Park.  I spent an afternoon snorkeling off Ofu Beach  – One of the most magical places I have ever seen.  My photos taken with a small digital camera really don’t do it justice but I hope they give you a glimpse of this pacific jewel

DSC_4308 Ofu caves

DSC_4296 Ofu Coast

DSC_4330 DSC_4321Young Humpback Whale

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Ofu

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Ofu Breach

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Ofu Beach

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Ofu Reef

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Algae  eating into the coral looked like a strange hand print

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Marks from Puffer fish feeding on the coral

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Removing species of algae harmful to the coral

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Huge Blue Star fish

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Ofu Beach

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Leaving the Harbor

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Beautiful National Park of American Samoa

I have just come back from a remarkable visit to one of our least known treasures and one of the most beautiful places I have seen – A National Park far deep in the Southern Hemisphere spanning several of the verdant volcanic islands of American Samoa. This post shows some of the photographs I took from a  visit to the National Park of American Samoa on the island of Tutuila on a rainy morning in early October. The light was terrible but you will  have some idea of the landscape and birds in the Park.

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View from American Samoa National Park

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Entering US Southern-most Park!

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View of Pago Pago, the Capital of  American Samoa on Tutuila the main island

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The National Park in light rain

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The sun came out briefly

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DSC_5646 DSC_5647The endemic Samoan Starling

DSC_5681 DSC_5655 The endemic Wattled Honeyeater

 

DSC_5661 DSC_5733The Collared Kingfisher

DSC_5657 Moth  – Alas no idea of the species

DSC_5669 Small blue butterfly –  probably Euchrysops cnejus samoa

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DSC_5697 DSC_5707 Purple-Capped Fruit Dove

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Orange Sulphur Butterfly

I love the delicate colors of the underwings of the Orange Sulphur.  The pink wash on the edges of the wings complements the yellow, blues and greens – and in this case the flower as well.

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