Hi, blog readers. We’ve just published 5 Isla Palenque pocket field guides! They look great and are full of information on Isla Palenque’s birds & butterflies, reptiles & amphibians, mammals, plants & flowers, and the ocean life that surrounds the island. Want them? Just ask!
Kudos go to Amble Resorts Marketing Intern Emily Kinskey who did the research, writing and design for the guides. Of course, I helped :), but she did yeoman’s work and the results are terrific. Now that Emily has all this research under her belt, we’ve invited her to guest blog about it. Here is her first installment of what I hope will be many. Enjoy!
FROM GUEST BLOGGER EMILY:
Thanks to popular literature and film, we think of pirates as grungy, strapping young figures on a quest for treasure, revenge or maybe even love at open sea. It is thanks to the famed tales of Peter Pan, Hook and Pirates of the Caribbean that we can already understand the bold dueling and brazen mating performances of the Magnificent Frigate Bird.
On the bushy volcanic outcroppings that form much of Isla Palenque’s shoreline, frigate birds live in rowdy colonies. Much like the patriarchal rankings of a pirate ship, frigates are tight knit and fiercely protective of their young. Instead of wide sails displaying the Jolly Rodger, 3lb frigate birds fly over the sea with an 8ft wingspan of iridescent black feathers. And while peg legged they may not be, the largest wingspan to body ratio of any bird makes them extremely awkward at walking and swimming.
Nesting colonies are abuzz with the rattling, guttural call of the Frigate, especially during mating season. In a flamboyant display, the male frigate will inflate the patch of red skin at their throat called the gular sac. Over twenty minutes the patch becomes a striking red balloon. With the gular sac, or shall we say treasure chest, inflated, the male waggles his head, flaps his wings and calls loudly while females fly over head. The female observes many males before landing next to her mate of choice. When she chooses her mate, Johnny Depp the male frigate spreads his huge wings around her to claim and protect her from the curse of the black pearl other frigate males.
Despite living a rowdy colonial life by the sea and securing a headstrong belle, a pirate cannot be a pirate without fierce fighting, intense duels and robbery at open sea. This is where the Magnificent Frigate earns its common names – Pirate Bird and Man O’ War. The Frigate makes up for its clumsiness on ground and water by its extreme agility and grace in flight. Sweeping off of seaside cliffs, the Frigates scan the water for other seabirds. When they spot their prey – a seabird returning from a successful day of fishing, the raid begins. Silently the frigate chases the bird, grabbing it by its tail feathers and shaking it until the bird regurgitates its food – talk about a scare tactic. The frigate then drops the bird and swoops down for its loot, taking it proudly back to feed baby. Back at the nest with his treasure and satisfied crew, the pirates story is complete.
A tropical island setting, the traditional black cloak and red scarf attire, rowdy colonies and seized treasure… perhaps the pirate tales of old aren’t as fictionalized as we thought. After studying the magnificent pirates of Isla Palenque, I’m wondering where Disney came up with Captain Jack Sparrow, shouldn’t it be Captain Jack Frigate?
To watch the Frigate in action, check out these videos.
Frigate Mating on YouTube.
Frigate Piracy from the Life documentary.