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Newsletter July to September 2013

Maybe it's worth mentioning the South East Monsoon, now that it's coming to an end.

We did not experience the real South East Monsoon this year as we've had in the past far as Bird Island is concerned.

This last monsoon, the wind blew mostly from the south west instead of south east. This had an impact on the shifting of the sand around the island. The sand accumulation in the north point did not really happened this year. It was concentrated rather on the north north east side. The ‘fossilized’ sand on the east coast was not exposed either until the end of September. Usually it's out by July.

We registered the driest southeast in 4 years (May/September). July and August were the driest months with 4.2mm and 4.9mm respectively.

We wondered if the dry weather was responsible for the high mortality rate among the lesser noddy chicks. There were so many dead chicks around that even the crabs could not deal with them all. They were picked up and buried. This has never happened before on the island.

A new turtle season started on the 21st of July. So far, only eight green turtle nests recorded.

A green turtle was seen earlier this month (September) nesting during the day time. She emerged around 7am and went down to the water at 09.15am. I must admit that this occurrence is not very common. Green turtles on Bird are known to come up late at night and sometime in the early mornings and go down just after sunrise.

The first Hawksbill came up on Saturday, 21st September. She was seen by guests nesting on the northeast coast. From the picture taken, she was not tagged. A second untagged Hawksbill recorded again on October 1st.

Sooty Tern:
The colony's progress has been quite encouraging. Very low mortality rate among the young chicks. The first fledglings were seen flying around at the beginning of September.

Common Noddy:
Even though they started breeding very late compared to their ‘lesser’ cousins, their fledglings did not suffer the same fate as the lesser noddy's. There are many young birds around towards the end of September, from the hotel perimeter to the east coast. Mortality rate among the fledglings this season is rather low in comparison to other years.

Tropic Birds:
This bird is doing well. Six new nests identified during the last three months. Since the eradication of rats on the island, all nesting habitats were concentrated around the west coast and the hotel area. It seems that they are now extending further in the interior of the island where a few nests have been located.

Seychelles Sunbird:
Twenty one nests recorded since July. The population is increasing rather fast from 38 individuals in 2006. There are now over 150 individuals.

Seychelles Blue Pigeon:
Steady population of approximately 15 to 20 birds extending all over the island including the hotel area.

Migrants:
Turnstones, grey plovers and whimbrels were the first to arrive early during the month of September. The first Pacific Golden sighted on 12September followed by common sand pipers, 1 greenshank, 1 wood sandpiper, curlews and 1 purple heron.

The little terns first recorded during the month of August. A population of around 125 individuals.

Three crab plovers, 2 juveniles and 1 adult have been around since June.

Red Footed Boobies:
Only 18 individuals recorded during the south east monsoon.

Brown Boobies:
Two only during same period.

Masked Boobies:
6 individuals.

From Bird Island Team