Hi there everyone,
Just wanted to post a few new photos for y’all, including some new arrivals, long-term residents, and long-term guests. First, we’ve got a small group of turkey vultures that’s lingered out at the Tortugas for over a month now. They must have enough fish and bird carrion on the beaches to sustain them for this length of time. Several of them can usually be seen kettling over the Fort when the wind or thermals are just right.
As far as our resident colony of magnificent frigatebirds is concerned, keep an eye out for the occasional banded bird. Because of their impressive wingspan, these adult birds sport wing bands, one on each wing, at the wrist joint. The bands are usually bright yellow with black letter/number codes to identify each banded individual. Take a look at the photo below to get an idea of what to look for on a banded frigatebird.
As summer comes to a close to make way for our mild fall, the birds are more indicative of the season change than the deceptive temperatures. In the photo below, you can see four very different birds, each representing a different aspect of a year at the Dry Tortugas. The laughing gulls are present all year round, the brown noddies a spring and summer nesting resident, the Forster’s tern a brief visitor after bad weather, and the recently arrived sandwich terns (and not pictured: royal terns) are indicative of the approaching fall months.
Keep an eye out for more fall arrivals in the coming weeks, especially as the last of the brown noddies depart and the sandwich terns, royal terns, and black skimmers begin to make their presence known.