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!
The Sooty Tern breeding season is progressing well. Laying began exceptionally early this year, with the first eggs being recorded around 10 May. This proved to be a false alarm, however, as the birds departed, only to return later when laying recommenced around 25 May – still early by normal standards but closer to the … More Bird Island’s Sooty Terns 2019
January 2019 has brought very warm weather and plentiful rain to Mahé, the largest and most populated island of Seychelles. Towards the end of the month, low spring tides left vast areas of the foreshore inside the coral reefs free of water, allowing the sand, coral and seaweed to bake in the hot sun within … More Banquet for fish-eating birds
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
As the Sooty Terns nesting season began early this year, hatching of the eggs also began earlier than usual. By the time we left after our first visit to Bird Island this year, on 26 June, hatching of the earliest-laid eggs had just begun. We returned to the island on 5 July to find that … More Bird Island’s 2018 Sooty Tern big hatch is under way
11.6 km2 Assumption Island lies about 1100 km south-west of Mahe, Seychelles’ largest and most populous island, and is close to Aldabra atoll, famed for its relatively undisturbed ecosystem that qualified it for World Heritage Site status. Assumption is a raised coral island and was formerly home to a vast number of seabirds, especially boobies, … More Assumption Island – a miserable past, an uncertain future
There can be few who are unaware of the ubiquitous problems faced by the world’s oceans as more and more tonnes of plastic contaminants enter them. A wide variety of plastic bottles, sheeting, fishing waste (buoys, line, fish aggregating devices [see my blog of 13 June 2017]) polystyrene packaging, flip-flops and other shoes, wash up … More A perplexing problem of plastic in Bird Island’s Sooty Tern colony
Bird Island is renowned for the number of non-resident birds that appear in its approximately 100 hectares of land. This might be because Bird is the northernmost island of Seychelles, and thus possibly the first land seen by birds arriving from the north. Additionally, smaller birds are probably more visible in Bird Island’s generally open … More Another unexpected visitor to Bird Island
“The Guardian” on 22 February highlighted a proposal to create 15 % of Seychelles’ Economic Exclusion Zone as protected areas, aimed at conserving the rich biota that are subject to a variety of threats, including over-fishing and its associated by-catch, mineral extraction and climate change. Funding for the plan has been facilitated by The Nature … More Seychelles marine conservation plan hits the headlines
Over the last 40 years or so we have learned a lot about the lives of Bird Island’s Sooty Terns while they are nesting on the island. Thanks to the development of new tiny tracking devices, we are now beginning to learn something of their lives at sea. Recently, I wrote about the remarkable findings … More How far to the Sooty Tern restaurant?