SOOTY TERN Sterna fuscata

Sooty Terns, locally known as Wideawakes after their call, are the most numerous seabird on Ascension and one of the few species that still nest on the mainland. Their large colonies along the south coast of the island - the Wideawake Fairs - totalled 150,000 pairs in 2001. Sooty Terns on Ascension breed on a ten lunar month (9.6 calendar month) cycle. As a result, there is no predictable season when Sooty Terns can be seen on Ascension, but when occupied the Wideawake Fairs are one of the finest wildlife spectacles on the island.

With such large numbers present, it is unsurprising that occasionally an unusually plumaged bird is found, such as this albino chick in November 2001. (Right)