No, not a mind-boggling “murmuration” of thousands of Starlings in highly synchronised manoeuvres, just six of them in a quick fly-past. I have been silent on my blog site for far too long. Following our return from investigating Myna problems on Mayotte late last year (see blog of 2 November 2019) I returned to UK, … More Thrilled by Starlings
In my recent blog about our discovery of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters occupying burrows on Mahe, I mentioned that White-tailed Tropicbirds were the only seabird that had survived in numbers as a breeding species on the larger granitic islands of Seychelles. They had survived despite a large and still increasing human population and the commensal predators that … More Is there a connection between White-tailed Tropicbirds and the popularity of fast food?
Seychelles was first settled by westerners in the late 18th century. Previous exploratory visits by French ships had established that Mahe had abundant timber for home and boat building, and fresh water for drinking would provide vital resources for establishing a permanent base. Giant Tortoises would provide food for residents and passing ships. Crocodiles were … More Are Wedge-tailed Shearwaters breeding on Seychelles’ main island, Mahe?
In my blog of 16 July, I described some work that we had started in an attempt to explain how small fragments of plastic, mainly blue and green, appeared on the ground in the Sooty Tern colony on Bird Island. Joanna Suares, the island’s conservation officer, continued the weekly monitoring of the fixed quadrats in … More An update on plastics in Bird Island’s Sooty Tern colony
We are currently staying in a bungalow that is part of a small guest house complex on the French island of Mayotte. This 324 square kilometre island is part of the Comores, a group of four volcanic islands that lie between northern Madagascar and north-eastern Mozambique on the African east coast. We have come here … More Are there spies in the myna camp?
On 20 October we set off from Mahe for Mayotte, an island in the Comores that is administered as a French Departement. It lies about 1400 kilometres south-west of Mahe but by air there is no direct route. We had to fly to Reunion, overnight in a hotel and the next day fly to Mayotte. … More Arrival in Mayotte
On 3 September we took a drive up Mahe’s west coast. Unlike the east coast road, which is extremely busy and bordered by a wide variety of industries, showrooms, the airport and heavily populated villages, the west coast road remains relatively quiet and passes through attractive woodland and villages, and provides stunning views of the … More A sea feast for man and bird
Late September saw a major influx of migrant birds to Bird Island. As expected from previous experience, shorebirds predominated among these early arrivals. Most breed at high latitudes and those that arrive in Seychelles probably nest in northern Asia. There, climatic conditions force them to have a short breeding season, after which they migrate south … More September on Bird Island: migrant arrival in full swing
With heavy hearts Christine and I have now left Bird Island after a prolonged seabird-watching experience. It has been an exciting year on an extraordinary island. We arrived in June in time to observe the Sooty Terns’ arrival and egg laying, watched their feeding movements, and saw chicks hatch. After a break we returned in … More Bird Island, Seychelles – a unique experience of living among seabirds
Between 27 and 30 August we deployed satellite tags on 15 juvenile Sooty Terns in order to follow their movements after fledging and discover where their parents took them as the fledglings learned to feed themselves. When attached the tags to birds that weighed a minimum of 180 grams, judging that chicks of this weight … More SeyCCAT project: our tagged juvenile Sooty Terns head for the open ocean