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?
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
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
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!
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
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?
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
The Sooty Tern is the world’s most numerous tropical seabird. Although it has been the subject of several major studies, two aspects of its life render investigation difficult. First, it generally breeds on remote tropical islands where access is often difficult. Second, it spends its entire life outside the breeding season at sea, living an … More A BBC Natural History Unit first for Sooty Terns
On 11 July 2017 Christine and I were able to revisit Cousine Island, a small private island nature reserve off the western coast of Praslin. Like most Seychelles’ islands, its native forest was removed in the late 19th or early 20th century in order to make way for coconut cultivation. At that stage Sooty Terns … More Sooty Terns have a successful year on Cousine Island