Lesser Frigatebird, Taitung County, June 21st

A most unexpected start to a beach and surfing weekend in Taitung County came in the form of an adult female Lesser Frigatebird, which flew directly over us as we drove up Highway 9 on Saturday morning.

At about the Km 400 mark, close to Taimali, I almost ran my scooter off the road in excitement when the unmistakeable silhouette of a frigatebird loomed overhead. It was being mobbed by the local House Swifts as it followed the coastline, heading south.

The frigatebird was quite low overhead and I didn’t even need binoculars to see the diagnostically shaped white breast patch, with a finger of white stretching on to the underside of each wing.

Lesser Frigatebird is a rare summer and autumn visitor to Taiwan, often associated with typhoons. The weather today was clear and sunny, but an offshore typhoon about six days prior to my sighting had produced a lot of rain in southern Taiwan. Perhaps this bird had been caught up in it and was in the process of relocating south?

Lifer: Lesser Frigatebird (total 1,784).

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