Ascension Island Government

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Waterside Fairs

Bird Nature Reserve



Waterside Fairs, also known as Water's Edge, is a stretch of bare volcanic rock that forms part of the Wideawake fairs. This area is one of Ascension's main nesting sites for sooty terns, <em>Onychoprion fuscatus. </em> Sooty terns settle in vast numbers in a collection of colonies that spread across the lava fields hugging the coastline.

When terns are nesting please stay outside of the colony boundary. Walking into a colony causes disturbance to the birds which can result in eggs and chicks being abandoned. Adult birds that are scared off small chicks to avoid humans then leave their chick vulnerable to frigatebird predation. Terns are also very protection of their young and can become aggressive.

The Conservation Department regularly visit this site to clear invasive Mexican thorn, Prosopis juliflora, from the protected area. If left unchecked, Mexican thorn covers the bare rock that the sooty terns nest on with an impenetrable thorny thicket, limiting the amount of nesting space. These trees will also encourage soil formation that further alters the habitat and could encourage subsequent invasive species. Furthermore, the trees provide moisture and food sources to invasive rodents that threaten the nesting sooty terns.