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
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?
In my blog post of 23 June 2018, I described the occurrence of small plastic fragments in the Sooty Tern colony, which I had first noticed in the 1990s but which have been seen regularly and abundantly in the colony ever since. The origin of the irregularly-shaped pieces of remains a mystery but this year … More Plastic in the Sooty Tern colony
When Bird Island was first discovered by Europeans in the 1770s, it was described as being covered by “innumerable” birds and later visitors reaffirmed this, also mentioning scant vegetation. The discoverers did not name the birds they found but Sooty Terns were likely to have been the most numerous species. Other species, mainly ground nesting … More Bird Island is not just for Sooty Terns!
During our second period on Bird Island this year we have been helping our French friend and colleague, Dr Camille Lebarbenchon. Camille is a disease ecologist, specialising in viral pathogens found in seabirds of tropical islands. He is based at the University of Reunion. We first met at an Avian Influenza Symposium in Athens, Georgia, … More Noddies under investigation
I first stepped foot on Aride Island, Seychelles, in March 1972. With John Procter, then the Conservation Advisor to the Seychelles Government, we undertook a 3-day survey of the island, its vegetation and bird and reptile life. The island lived up to its name, being very dry even at the end of the “wet” season … More Amazing Aride Island
Common Mynas Acrodotheres tristis like eggs. They have been recorded eating the eggs of many species, large sad small. In the process, they can endanger the survival of some of the world’s most endangered island endemic birds. Seabird eggs are often large and thus offer introduced Mynas a substantial meal. In 2015 Christine and I, … More Mynas can express their annoyance too
On 9 June Christine and I disembarked from the Twin Otter that brought us on the short flight from Mahe to be welcomed by a very green Bird Island, betraying an unusually wet start to the “dry season”. Our ears and eyes were immediately filled with the sounds and sights of a multitude of Brown … More Sooty Terns return to Bird Island – and so do we
On Friday 16 September Christine and I visited Pathtrack Ltd, the company that makes the GPS loggers (Nanofix GEO+) that we deploy on Sooty Terns (and that we also put on Brown Noddies with Camille Lebarbenchon, our friend based at Reunion Island). Following increased demand for their tracking equipment Pathtrack have relocated to a larger building in … More Feedback from Pathtrack: tracking technology moves on
Frigatebirds, those aerial giants of tropical waters, once called man-o-war birds by seafarers, are renowned for their aerobatic prowess when chasing other birds, especially boobies, in order to persuade the latter to regurgitate their last meal, which the frigatebirds eagerly devour. However, on Aldabra and elsewhere, frigatebirds and boobies breed alongside each other and live … More Pirates of the air and sea, but bedfellows too