July and August are months when the south-east trade winds normally reach their maximum in Seychelles, leading to large ocean swells that send waves crashing on to exposed beaches. These have the potential to cause erosion of sandy beaches, especially during spring tides that accompany new and full moons. In addition to shifts of vast … More A Bird Island spring tide “flood”
Towards the end of this year’s stay on Bird Island I was able to photograph a Sooty Tern in the colony with unusual (compared with the vast majority of birds in the colony) plumage. Instead of having a clear-cut line between the white forehead and black cap on the head, this bird had a gradation … More A young Sooty Tern makes an early return?
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
Welcome to Bird Island! This morning, 19 June, we found our first Sooty Tern chicks in the colony – three of them among the several hundreds of thousand eggs still to hatch. Sooty Terns incubate their eggs for 28 days, meaning that these eggs must have been laid on 22 May. We had been told … More Happy birthday!
During the evening of 15 June, we sat on Bird Island’s west beach to watch the sunset and hopefully catch the first glimpse of the new moon. Both missions were successful – as the sky darkened the latter revealed itself as the tiniest sliver of a crescent. The sky was full of birds – Brown … More Batay torti – slowly does it!
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
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
After several days of preparation on Mahe, on 9 June Christine and I flew to Bird Island. We had heard that Sooty Terns had begun laying on 25 May. This is unusually early for the start of their nesting season, which does not normally begin until June. We are here to continue our studies of … More We return to Bird Island to find further erosion
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?