Sooty Tern progress

The Sooty Tern colony is now densely packed with birds. The first birds that laid are now about half way through their 28-day incubation period and these parents are already becoming more aggressive towards us as we visit our study plots. Our ankles are being regularly pecked, sometimes drawing blood, and more and more we … More Sooty Tern progress

Vine without end

In places around the edge of Bird Island’s Sooty Tern colony, a filamentous and leafless plant, vary ing from light green through to orange, can be found. This sometimes completely smothers other vegetation, including beach crest bushes like Velutye (Scaevola sericea), Bwamatlo (Suriana maritima) and Bwatabak (Tournefortia argentea), even killing them in the process. The … More Vine without end

Shadows on hot sand

Walking north from the hotel along Bird Island’s west beach during the Sooty Tern breeding season, one cannot escape from the birds’ presence. In addition to the incessant calls emanating from the nesting area, the sandy beach reveals a constant moving network of shadows, cast by over-flying birds as they criss-cross the beach. Some of … More Shadows on hot sand

Perfumes in profusion

Hosting a huge number of seabirds, it is inevitable that the air of Bird Island sometimes carries the whiff of bird guano, of which tonnes are deposited annually by the breeding hordes. This guano is, however, the source of the island’s fertility, without which little would grow. Two of the plant species that thrive on … More Perfumes in profusion

Can North Island regain some of its lost seabirds?

On North Island’s west coast is a narrow plateau on which Sunset Beach and Honeymoon Beach stand (the latter also called Anse Bonnen Kari, the Creole name for the Barringtonia trees that dominate the beach crest’s woodland). Inland of these beaches is it possible to find broken pieces of sandstone rock, very different from the … More Can North Island regain some of its lost seabirds?