Part of our work on Bird Island involves walking slowly through the Sooty Tern colony looking for birds that we have ringed in the past, some as long ago as 1972. It is not an easy task. It involves long periods of intense concentration and patience while being subjected to attacks to our heads and … More Return of an old friend
On Bird Island, and in other colonies throughout Seychelles, Sooty Terns breed seasonally during the south-east trade wind, roughly April to October. Outside this time, the millions of birds involved disappear from Seychelles waters and, apart from five recoveries of ringed birds (3 in Sri Lanka/southern India and one each in northern Australia and at … More The migration of Bird Island’s Sooty Terns revealed
After a very long gestation period, my book “Orange omelettes and dusky wanderers” has now been published by Calusa Bay Publications, Seychelles. It describes my experiences in Seychelles from late 1971 to the present. Based around the biology of my beloved Sooty Terns, it also embraces other areas of conservation in Seychelles, illustrating the leading … More Orange omelettes and dusky wanderers
As mentioned in my blog of 28 July, Dylan Savy, the 11-year old son of the Bird Island’s general manager and grandson of island owner Guy Savy, was due to count the number of Sooty Tern chicks in the squares we had marked in the colony before our departure. Dylan duly undertook these counts on … More Continuing success for Bird Island’s Sooty Terns
The south-east trade wind season, roughly from May to October, is not the best time to see glorious sunsets on Bird Island. Nevertheless, sitting on the western beach as the sun goes down, feeling the south-east breeze after a hot day in the sun, is a great way to pass the last hour of daylight … More Bird Island sunsets and starscapes
In recent blog posts I have often referred to our work in the Sooty Tern colony, without explaining what we are doing. Our main objective this year is to discover where Bird Island’s Sooty Terns feed during incubation and early chick rearing. As mentioned in the more technical post of 14 December 2015, we have … More Tracking Sooty Terns at sea
Our friend Camille Lebarbenchon, from the University of Reunion Island, has now joined us on Bird Island for the fifth year in succession. He is undertaking ground-breaking research on pathogens carried by seabirds in the western Indian Ocean. On Bird Island this has involved mainly Sooty Terns, Brown Noddies and Lesser Noddies but he has … More Camille Lebarbenchon arrives on Bird Island
Sooty Terns are long-lived; many of the birds we ringed on Bird Island in 1972-3 lived for more than 30 years. Young birds take a long time to mature, the vast majority not returning to breed until they are 5-6 years old. About 91 percent of breeding adults survive from one year to the next … More Sooty Terns – the next generations?
Attaching PathTrack GPS tags to Sooty Terns In 2014 Christine and I undertook trials of different attachment methods of attaching GPS loggers to incubating adult Sooty Terns on Bird Island, Seychelles, initially using dummy loggers and subsequently attaching working loggers. Ten dummy tags were made to our specification (and kindly donated free-of-charge) by the manufacturer, … More Investigation of methods of attaching GPS loggers to Sooty Terns
In 2011 and 2012 we marked 85 of Bird Island’s breeding Sooty Terns with geolocators, tiny devices that record geographical location during their migration. Geolocators have to be recovered the next breeding season to download the data and in 2012 and 2013 we manged to find 40 of the marked birds. The data showed that … More More trouble for Bird Island’s Sooty Terns?