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?
In my early blog posts (14 January 2016 and 16 May 2016) I described the then recent arrival in Seychelles of a small moth (Euproctis species) whose hairy caterpillar (in Creole senir plim) was defoliating trees and bushes, and whose hairs could cause intense irritation to the skin of humans and domestic pets. Having fed … More Return of Seychelles’ spiders?
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
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