Newsletter May to September 2011

The sooty terns breeding season was really very late this year. The main reason for this occurrence was a shortage of food;

  • Not enough for the birds to produce their eggs.
  • Length of distance between colony and feeding grounds
  • The first hatchlings appeared around the third week of July followed by en masse hatching a week later. As from that period, a monitoring programme was put in place to follow the progress of the chicks . Enough food and no rain would guarantee a high survival rate of chicks. On the other hand, no food and rain would be a disaster. We had little rain until 20/21 August. On those two days 10mm and 22mm were recorded respectively. The rain had very little effect on the fledglings. Very few chicks were affected. So far the fledglings seem to be doing very well, showing no signs of malnutrition.

    The unusual high tide late July created havoc for the birds at the edge of the colony bordering the sea. High waves washed out about 200 birds and their eggs over a period of two days. The ghost crabs had a feast for a while feeding on the carcasses and abandoned eggs. This explains the saying of ‘life at the edge’.

    A team of ornithologists was on the island in June for the geo locators programme. See separate résumé Both species of noddy chicks are doing well. The dead ones were those who fell to the ground and were abandoned by parents or pecked to death by passing adults. Our prediction is that the common noddy will fare better this season compared to the previous on.

    A record for red footed boobies: around 200 roosting individuals, mostly juveniles.

    Migrants: New Arrivals

    • A couple of turnstone have already arrived in their breeding plumage. This is rather early!!!
    • 1 curlew sandpiper.
    • 1 purple heron.

    Breaking News…A flock of little terns arrived 31st August at the northern tip of the sand bank!

    Endemic Land Birds:
    The Seychelles sunbirds are now breeding.
    One blue pigeon nest located in July.
    Rest of the Sea Birds:
    Fairy terns breed throughout the year due to low survival rate of eggs/chicks. According to Robby, they did pretty well during the peak breeding period from late June until August. Tropic birds: we noticed a busy breeding period for them as well.

    Turtle news:
    Officially, the season ended at the end of June. At the closure of the 2010/2011 season, 287 hawksbill turtle nests were recorded and 62 greens. With the start of the new season, only 2 green turtle nests have been recorded so far. Preparations will soon be under way for the arrival of the hawksbills, late September.

    We Will be back with more news in January:

    From Bird Island Team

    April 13, 2011 12:00 am

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