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Newsletter January to March 2014

Hawksbill Turtles:
Robby had a lot to do during the month of January with so many turtle nests to monitor. Crabs had to be removed from the nests and others had to be relocated to safer places to prevent them from being washed away from the eroding sand at the North Point.

Is spite of all the hard work invested into the monitoring of nests, some 149 nests were totally destroyed by crabs. We counted an average of 14 crabs per nest. We did manage however to remove crabs from just over 100 nests and the hatchlings were safely released to the sea.

The hawksbill laying season ended on March, 03, closing the season with 309 nests. There are still a few nests left mainly from those who laid late January and during the month of February.

Green Turtles:
The season for Greens seems promising with 21 nests already recorded . At least two tagged turtles were identified. They were tagged on Bird way back in 2010. Most nests are concentrated on the north east and north west coast.

Migrants:
The month of March is usually the time when the migrant birds like turnstones and plovers start changing into their breeding plumage getting ready for their northern migration. Those who stay behind will retain their winter plumage until their time comes up.

Some rare visitors recorded in the last 3 months:

  • 1 Icterine warbler – spent nearly a month on the island
  • 1 Amur Falcon- seen over 4 days
  • 1 Common pratincole
  • 1 Common Ringed Plover
  • 1 Common snipe.

Little Terns:
Their numbers peaked to around 150 individuals in December and January. On our last count at the end of March, there were only around 15 of them left.

 

Crab Plover:
21 individuals recorded at the same time. Probably a record number for us in many years.

Fregate Birds:
Their numbers dropped towards the end of March to around 85-90 individuals from approximately 350.

Lesser noddies:
Hundreds of them all over the island. More concentration on the west coast for the time being. Nest building started around beginning of March. No eggs laid as yet.

Sooty terns:
It is usually a common sight to see hundreds of sooty terns hovering around the North Point during the month of March. It hasn’t been the case this year. Very few birds seen so far.

Preparations of the sooty colony has already started. Unwanted vegetation is being removed to ensure maximum breeding habitat.

Bridle Terns:
Robby is doing a count of the bridled terns. He thinks that their numbers are very significant this year.
Bridle Terns only roost on the island.

Tropic birds:
At least 18 breeding pairs recorded so far during the last 3 months, an increase of 7nests compared to the last quarter of 2013.

The Weather:
The first quarter of this year has been the wettest for the last three years with 995.4mm compared to 866.7 in 2013 and 298.5 in 2012 respectively.

From Bird Island Team