A less strenuous weekend, Saturday we met Drew, a volunteer from the American Air Base, and headed out to North West Point. In a landscape of tortured lava, yellow-billed tropicbirds make their scrapes in protected cracks near the sea, while brown boobies have turned the offshore islets white with guano. Fortunately, it was overcast and we were spared the usual blistering heat that blasts up from the rocks. It's an unforgiving landscape, and even brushing against lava scratches the skin, so we carefully picked our way along the coast.
Nathan and Dane had marked out nests with tags, so we were checking progress and looking for new breeders. The tropicbirds are remarkably sanguine about being photographed – and look at that amazing tail!Sunday we had a change of scene and went up Green Mountain, Ascension's National Park, to count fairy terns on the cliffs, passing through eucalyptus and mimosa groves in the pouring rain. With more moisture, the slopes of the mountain are covered with scrub and trees, and the very top yields a surprise – a massive impenetrable bamboo grove, surrounding a typical English pond, complete with water lilies and goldfish!The day's work done, we headed to the old Ariane rocket site for a walk along the coast, with waves crashing against the lava, and frigatebirds, boobies and noddies flying home above us to Boatswainbird Island. The power of the sea was incredible, forcing up massive plumes of spray, and I found this octopus sheltering in a rock-pool.Today we are office-based, so no more news until Tuesday...when we are back down to Letterbox to install the sound system and attach data loggers to masked boobies.Signing off,Ian