Magnificent Frigatebird over Anacapa Island
Updated: Aug 1, 2019
Last Tuesday, the 27th of September, I received an excited text from one of my fellow Captains at Island Packers.
"Positive ID, Frigatebird at Anacapa Right Now!
I followed up with a few text messages to him and asked if anyone was able to get a photo. Luckily a passenger named Gary L. Gray caught it in a few frames and was kind enough to share them.
The September 27th, 2016 Magnificent Frigatebird over Anacapa Island. It circled a few times then flew westward.
Photo by Gary L. Gray
I was not able to see this bird but thought it was interesting that there have been multiple sightings this year and last year along the southern California coast. In fact another bird of the same species was seen south of this location at about the same exact time on the same day.
Maybe even more interesting is the fact that there was a sighting over the Ventura Harbor and adjacent settling ponds on June 21st 2015 and June 21st 2016! Where will you be June 21st 2017?
I did see the 2015 bird and managed to take a photo just before it spiraled up into the low clouds and marine layer hanging over the coast that day.
The 2015 Ventura Harbor Magnificent Frigatebird
The day after this photo was taken two more birds were seen not far to the north, over the Santa Barbara coast.
Magnificent Frigatebirds are typically found farther south into Mexico where they nest in the southern portions of the Baja Peninsula and mainland Mexico. Most of the stray birds in our area are juveniles best identified by their white heads and breasts.
There is another population that lives in the Caribbean and can be found around the southern tip of Florida.
I'll end this post with a sequence of photos I took in 2014 while camping in the Dry Tortugas National Park. I feel it exemplifies how they earned their name... Frigatebird