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Newsletter September 2012

The first sooty tern chicks saw the light towards the end of the third week of July. Their fledgling was regularly monitored to assess their development. Abundant food supply plus the sunny weather during the months of July and August definitely contributed.

Rainfall during the month of June to August was spare. September was rather wet with a total of 183.5cm.a maximum of 82.5mm in just one day on September 12. Heavy rain can be a real threat to the chicks, but fortunately it did not have much of an impact on them this time.

All our reservoirs are now full and the island is looking as green as ever.

Lesser Noddies: The first chicks appeared around the same period as the sooty terns. Again they fledged rather well with low mortalities. Some chicks that fell off from their nests due to strong winds or for other reasons beacame easy victims for the crabs on the ground.

Fairy Tern: The fairy terns that took over the artificial nests made out of coconut husks did extremely well. The loss of chicks from these nests was minimal as they offered better protection to those hatched elsewhere.

Brown Noddy: They had a good breeding season. Flocks of juveniles were often seen during the day on the airstrip and on the beach sunning themselves. Booby Red: only 15 individuals recorded, quite low compared to last year. The majority being red footed juveniles. Fregate numbers around 300, mostly lesser juveniles and few adults.

Tropic Birds: September being the peak with around 22 breeding pairs. 11 chicks successfully fledged since June. Last population assessment, 4 new pairs recorded in manmade habitats at the base of casuarinas.

Migrants: First arrivals late August, turnstones, curlew sandpipers, lesser and greater sandplovers, grey plovers, wimbrels, 1 eurasian curlew, 3 pacific golden plovers. 1 crab plover around since late July.

Little Terns: arrival late June. An estimated population of 100 individuals towards the end of September. Wedge tailed shearwaters: refurbishing their burrows since September in preparation for breeding in October.

Green Turtles: With the start of the official turtle program in July, 35 nests recorded until the end of September. We lost around 10 nest with strong erosion on the North East coast. It happened so fast that we didn’t have the time to rescue the nests.

Hawksbill: first recorded visit on 6th September. We don’t usually get them that early. She was tagged in September, 28 2007, section F of the beach and came to the same section again. Three more hawksbills recorded late during the same month. One was only 77cm. Maybe the smallest one recorded on Bird so far.

From the Bird Island Team.