The Year on Bird Island

January

Weather

Very hot and still with wind from the North West. The sea is normally calm and clear. Occasional rain showers. Good sunsets.

General-Information

The reef dries out on full moon and new moon in January and this allows guests (wearing suitable shoes) to walk out and see what is living on the reef and in the little pools left behind by the receding tide. The sea conditions are excellent for snorkelling and swimming, as the sea is usually calm and very clear.

Birds

Common Noddy Terns nest throughout the year. However there are two peak breeding seasons. January to March and June to September. During this time they can be seen going through courtship rituals, nest building and incubating the eggs. Hatching starts about the second week of February and nests can be seen on the ground around the chalets and virtually every chalet has a nesting Noddy close by. They also nest in the crowns of the coconut trees.

Migrants-Vagrants

A good variety of migrant and vagrant birds can be seen.

Turtles

Hawksbill turtles are still laying in large numbers. If you particularly want to see hatchlings then you should stay for 3 or so days during the peak hatching period between January and March. There is an excellent chance of seeing the baby turtles emerging from the nest and making their way to the sea at this time.

February

Weather

Very hot and still with wind from the North West. The sea is normally calm and clear. Occasional rain showers. Good sunsets.

General-Information

The sea conditions are excellent for snorkelling and swimming.

Birds

Lesser Noddy Terns are beginning to arrive, in preparation for their breeding season. These terns are smaller and blacker than the Common Noddy They nest in trees around the island. We have approximately 8900 nesting pairs. We do have Lesser Noddies roosting throughout the year on the island, but during the South Easterly they have an intensive period of breeding. These birds first bred on Bird Island 1980/81, now there is in excess of 8000 breeding pairs.

Migrants-Vagrants

As the winds begin to change, migrants which have been on the island for the European winter begin to change into their summer plumage in preparation for returning to their northern breeding grounds.

Turtles

Hawksbill Turtles are still laying in large numbers. If you particularly want to see hatchlings then you should stay for 3 or so days during the peak hatching period between January and March. There is an excellent chance of seeing the baby turtles emerging from the nest and making their way to the sea at this time.

March

Weather

Very hot and still – doldrums period. Sea normally very calm and clear. Good sunsets.

General-Information

Excellent snorkelling.

Birds

Common Noddy Terns nest throughout the year. However there are two peak breeding seasons. January to March and June to September. During this time they can be seen going through courtship rituals, nest building and incubating the eggs. Hatching starts about the second week of February and nests can be seen on the ground around the chalets and virtually every chalet has a nesting Noddy close by. They also nest in the crowns of the coconut trees.

Migrants-Vagrants

A good variety of migrant and vagrant birds can be seen.

Turtles

The last few nests of the Hawksbill Turtle eggs are still hatching and making their way down to the sea.

April

Weather

Very hot and still – doldrums period. Sea normally very calm and clear. Good sunsets.

General-Information

Excellent snorkelling. One of the best months for bird watching. Rare visitors can be blown off course in a westerly squall and make landfall on Bird Island to rest before continuing their long journey north.

Birds

Sooty Terns are beginning to gather in small numbers over the island in preparation for breeding, gradually increasing in numbers until hundreds of thousands of birds are swirling over the northern end of the island. Towards the end of April they begin to land in the colony area establishing their individual territories. Lesser Noddy Terns are beginning to arrive in preparation for their breeding season. These terns are smaller and blacker than the Common Noddy. They nest in trees around the island. We have approximately 8900 nesting pairs. We do have Lesser Noddies roosting throughout the year on the island, but during the South Easterly they have an intensive period of breeding. These birds first bred on Bird Island 1980/81, now there is in excess of 8000 breeding pairs.

Migrants-Vagrants

As the winds begin to change, migrants which have been on the island for the European winter begin to change into their summer plumage in preparation for returning to their northern breeding grounds.

Turtles

The last few nests of the Hawksbill Turtle eggs are still hatching and making their way down to the sea.

May

Weather

South Easterly wind begins to blow. It starts to get slightly cooler as the wind kicks in.

General-Information

One of the best months for bird watching. Rare visitors can be blown off course in a westerly squall and make landfall on Bird Island to rest before continuing their long journey north. Snorkelling still good.

Birds

From about the middle of the month sooty terns start to land in the evenings each day a little earlier, until at the end of the month they are present all day on the ground. It is possible that some lay in the central areas of the colony late in the month. The eggs of Lesser Noddy Terns start to hatch and parents can be seen feeding the chicks.

Migrants-Vagrants

Odd squalls which tend to bring in migrants which are passing on their way north. Once the South Easterly wind sets in, some migrants leave. We do always have migrants throughout the year on the island, though it is believed these are juvenile, non breeding birds.

June

Weather

By now (in a normal year – what is normal these days?) the South Easterly wind should be blowing steadily. The temperature is comparatively cooler.(28 deg C daily maximum) The sea is fairly calm on the west coast.

General-Information

Snorkelling is still possible, but the water is not as clear.

Birds

The majority of Sooty Tern eggs have been laid. Egg laying is usually synchronous, with eggs being laid over about a 10 day period – Incubation about 28 days. Common Noddies nest throughout the year but this is the beginning of the second peak period and so they can be seen going through courtship rituals, nest building and incubating the eggs. The nests are all around the chalets on the ground and virtually every chalet has a nesting Common Noddy close by. Birds which didn’t breed earlier in the year now begin their courtship rituals and by the end of the month they are incubating their eggs.

Turtles

Green turtles which lay throughout the year are more common June to September. They lay however at night, so the chances of seeing one are slim. We do however monitor the nests and obviously tell guests when a nest is ready to hatch and take the guests there to see the hatchlings emerge.

July

Weather

South Easterly winds are now well established. This means that it is pleasantly cool (27º -28º) It is usually very dry and rain is unlikely.

General-Information

The west coast is calm so snorkelling is still possible.

Birds

Sooty Tern’s first eggs are beginning to hatch. Late afternoon, parents come in with food and chicks can be seen being fed. If the first egg is lost then after about 14 days another will be laid. This will obviously hatch later, meaning that into late July adults can still be seen incubating eggs. Towards the end of the month the first Common Noddy Tern chicks begin to hatch.

August

Weather

South Easterly wind still blowing steadily. Cooler by comparison to North Westerly and humidity less.

General-Information

Snorkelling is not good as the sea can be quite rough in the reef areas and not very clear.

Birds

Towards the end of August, beginning of September, the earlier Sooty Tern chicks start to fledge. The majority of Common Noddy Tern chicks start hatching during the first week of August.

September

Weather

South Easterly wind still blowing steadily. Cooler by comparison to North Westerly and humidity less. Rainy days are not unusual in September.

General-Information

Snorkelling is not good as the sea can be quite rough in the reef areas and not very clear.

Birds

Towards the end of August, beginning of September, the earlier Sooty Tern chicks start to fledge. By the middle to end of September the majority of Noddy Tern chicks have fledged.

October

Weather

South Easterly wind begins to lessen, and it’s becoming hotter. From now into December the wind will from time to time blow quite strong from the west. Good sunsets.

General-Information

The sea conditions are excellent for snorkelling and swimming, as the sea is usually calm and very clear.

Birds

The Sooty Terns have virtually all gone by the end of October, leaving only the weak behind.

Migrants-Vagrants

This is a very interesting time bird wise. Migrants and vagrants start to come in. For the true birdwatcher this really is the best time of year to visit. (if you’ve seen one sooty tern you’ve seen 3 million!) This is the time of year we get all sorts of strange birds.

Turtles

Hawksbill turtles start emerging from the sea to lay their eggs in October. They increase laying daily in numbers so that by mid November to mid December it is possible to record 3 or 4 new nests daily. The eggs which were laid in early October will begin to hatch at the beginning of December.

November

Weather

South Easterly wind begins to lessen, and it’s becoming hotter and the sea is calmer and clearer. The North Westerly winds should set in by November and it is much warmer and squally showers are possible. From now into December the wind will from time to time blow quite strong from the west. Good sunsets.

General-Information

The reef dries out on full moon and new moon in November, December/January and this allows guests (wearing suitable shoes) to walk out and see what is living out on the reef and in the little pools left behind by the receding tide. The weather is hot and the sea conditions are excellent for snorkelling and swimming, as the sea is usually calm and very clear.

Migrants-Vagrants

This is a very interesting time bird wise. Migrants and vagrants start to come in. For the true birdwatcher this really is the best time of year to visit. (if you’ve seen one sooty tern you’ve seen 3 million!) This is the time of year we get all sorts of strange birds.

Turtles

Hawksbill turtles start emerging from the sea to lay their eggs in October. They increase laying daily in numbers so that by mid November to mid December it is possible to record 3 or 4 new nests daily. The eggs which were laid in early October will begin to hatch at the beginning of December. The peak of laying is November to mid February. Hatchlings start emerging 58 days after the eggs are laid and will continue hatching until April.

December

Weather

South Easterly wind begins to lessen, and it is hotter and the sea is calmer and clearer. The North Westerly winds should set in and it is much warmer and squally showers are possible. The wind will from time to time blow quite strong from the west. Good sunsets.

General-Information

The reef dries out on full moon and new moon in November,December/January and this allows guests (wearing suitable shoes) to walk out and see what is living out on the reef and in the little pools left behind by the receding tide. The weather is hot and the sea conditions are excellent for snorkelling and swimming, as the sea is usually calm and very clear.

Migrants-Vagrants

This is a very interesting time bird wise. Migrants and vagrants start to come in. For the true birdwatcher this really is the best time of year to visit. (if you’ve seen one sooty tern you’ve seen 3 million!) This is the time of year we get all sorts of strange birds.

Turtles

Hawksbill turtles start emerging from the sea to lay their eggs in October. They increase laying daily in numbers so that by mid November to mid December it is possible to record 3 or 4 new nests daily. The eggs which were laid in early October will begin to hatch at the beginning of December.The peak of laying is November to mid February. Hatchlings start emerging 58 days after the eggs are laid and will continue hatching until April.