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?
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
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
In 1994 I arrived on Bird Island ring Sooty Terns and to search for birds that I had ringed in 1993 as part of a long-term programme of ringing aimed at investigating the survival of adults and juveniles. This was to provide information that would help to estimate the number of eggs that could be … More Two remarkable coincidences in Japanese/Anglo/Seychelles relationships
Since 2011 we have been using different kinds of electronic tracking device to investigate the movements and behaviour of Bird Island’s Sooty Terns, greatly increasing our knowledge of the birds’ use of the surrounding ocean. Prior to that much of our knowledge of Sooty Tern survival, longevity, movements between islands and daily activities in the … More Ringing and recapture of Bird Island’s Sooty Terns remains important in unraveling their lives
Lesser Noddies breed on small islands that are free of introduced predators in Seychelles, including Bird Island. They nest in trees, building substantial cup-shaped nests of leaves and seaweed that they cement together with their droppings, and into which they deposit their single egg. Their breeding season thus commences with much activity on the ground … More Prolonged nesting of Lesser Noddies?
Angelique Pouponneau, CEO of SeyCCAT, and Vania Robert, its Executive Assistant, visited Bird Island for two days, 26 to 28 August, to see for themselves the progress Rachel, Christine and I are making on the SeyCCAT-funded project involving the satellite tracking of juvenile Sooty Terns. We were able to show them the procedures we followed … More SeyCCAT project: oversight visit
We are accustomed seeing a few Red-footed Boobies on Bird Island. Each year during our Sooty Terns studies in June-July we see 10 to 20 in the evenings, roosting among the larger number of Great and Lesser Frigatebirds (mainly the latter) that roost every night in tall Casuarina trees towards the southern end of the … More A bumper year for Red-footed Boobies