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Newsletter July to December 2015

Hello readers and friends,

It has been some time since our last newsletter but we are now back in full force and I am sure you are all wondering how the birds are doing.

Our Feathered Friends
The Sooty Tern nesting season started quite late this year. The birds began laying at the end of June rather than at the end of May into mid June but in spite of this the numbers were good and monitoring of the Terns continues.

The Common and Lesser Noddies have had a good year, with the increased population of Commons now having moved away from the ground to the young coconut palms. With the Lessers, their numbers have increased so much over the years that we estimate the population to have reached about 20,000 birds.

The introduced species of Blue Pigeons and Sunbirds have also been doing well, both with healthy and stable populations. This has been the same for the beautiful White-tailed Tropic Birds, most of which can be found breeding within the hotel compound.

With the colder months approaching in the northern hemisphere, the usual migrants have made their way to Bird Island and are here in time to escape the winter. So far we have spotted our usual friends, the Curlews, Whimbrels, Common Sandpipers, Greater Sand Plovers and Grey Sand Plovers. They will be here until the months of January and February to make the most of the island’s warm sandy beaches.

As we move into December, we are likely to see more migrants and some rare visitors. We’ll keep you posted.

Research Work
This July, Dr. Camille Lebarbenchon, Assistant Professor at the University of Reunion Island, stayed with us for 2 weeks to carry out research work on wild birds. He had much success with his field sessions, managing to collect samples from more than 300 birds. Our Geolocater study also continued, with Dr Lebarbenchon recovering 12 of the 34 geolocators that he deployed last year on Brown and Lesser Noddies. We are very excited to learn the results of where the Noddies migrate to when they are not on Bird Island.

Green Turtles and Hawksbill Turtles
Catching a glimpse of a Green Turtle is usually slim compared to a Hawksbill Turtle. The chances of a sighting would normally be when they come ashore to lay but it is still hard to see them because they lay at night time. At least a dozen Juvenile Green Turtles have taken up residence inside the reef at Passe Coco. They are smaller in size and yet to reach breeding age but nevertheless, provide guests a great opportunity to admire these marvellous creatures and even swim with them.

The Hawksbill Turtles began emerging from the sea in October to lay their eggs. They continue to increase in numbers as the season progresses and soon we will see the precious hatchlings making their way to the ocean. The Hawksbill Turtle nests are being monitored by our conservation officer, Robby, who will be keeping us updated on their numbers.

Looking forward to sending more news your way in March!

From Bird Island Team