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Desecheo Expedition
Island Conservation Biological Monitoring Trip Coordinated with KP5 Ham Radio Operators Group
The purpose of our trip was to collect data on invasive and native species on Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico to develop a feasibility plan for the removal of rodents from the island. Six Island Conservation biologists visited Desecheo between February 12 and 26, 2009, accompanied by the KP5 Ham Radio Operators Expedition staff and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Caribbean Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex personnel.
The KP5 team did an extraordinary job organizing supplies, transportation and safety precautions needed throughout the length of the project. This included all helicopter trips to the island, meals, water, other domestic needs, unexploded ordinances training for all personnel staff, medical supplies and an on-island professional physician and medic.
Island Conservation would like to thank the KP5 team for their exceptional hospitality, continued support, and enthusiasm for the restoration of Desecheo Island.
Results of Biological Monitoring on Desecheo Island
Biological surveys across the island revealed a generally poor diversity and abundance of bird species, with no evidence of any seabird colonies within the island’s interior. However, 7 potentially active seabird rookeries were observed on Desecheo’s coastline, including two of reasonable size, one of which had up to 50 roosting Brown Booby. In addition, large numbers of Brown Booby were seen at sea with Red-footed Booby and Masked Booby, suggesting these seabirds are poised to re-establish Desecheo’s seabird colonies. Four of the five native and endemic reptiles known from Desecheo were recorded, with the exception of Mabuya mabouya sloanei which was not seen.
What makes Desecheo Island so special? Click here to find out!

Species Observed on Desecheo Island
Reptiles
Four of the 5 native and endemic reptiles reported from Desecheo were recorded:
Puerto Rico racer, Alsophis portoricensis
Desecheo ground lizard, Ameiva exsul desechensis
Desecheo anole, Anolis desechensis
Desecheo dwarf gecko, Sphaerodactylus levinsi
 
 
Bird Surveys
At least 17 bird species were recorded on Desecheo Island or within view offshore: 5 seabirds, 2 shorebirds, 3 raptors, and 6 confirmed landbirds along with at least one species not fully identified.
 
Seabirds
Brown Booby, Sula leucogaster
Red-footed Booby, Sula sula
Masked Booby, Sula dactylatra
Magnificent Frigatebird, Fregata magnificens
Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis
 
Shorebirds
Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
American Oystercatcher, Haematopus palliatus
 
Raptors
Osprey, Pandion haliaetus
Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrines
American Kestrel, Falco sparverius
 
Landbirds
Pearly-eyed Thrasher, Margarops fuscata
Zenaida Dove, Zenaida aurita
White-eyed Vireo, Vireo griseus
Caribbean Martin, Progne dominicensis
Gray Kingbird, Tyrannus dominicensis
Prairie Warbler, Dendroica discolor
Connecticut or Mourning warbler, Oporornis agilis or O. philidelphia

 



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