Island is mind-blowing! At the same time, it's also a place that
encourages just lounging around. We managed to resist this temptation
- some of the time!
around the Lodge area were generally very confiding. Everywhere
there were Barred Ground Doves and Turnstones. Both
Brown and Lesser Noddies were common in the trees,
and are easily separated when seen side by side. Curlew Sandpipers
(in non-breeding plumage) were foraging in the short grass in 2s
and 3s and, a few feet away from our chalet, a White-tailed Tropicbirds
were rearing a chick in the roots of a tree. The chick was visited
by both adults, and on one occasion, they both managed to cram themselves
into the small nest hollow. Fairy Terns were also plentiful,
both around the Lodge, and throughout the rest of the island.
the Sooty Tern colony, the activity was still frenetic, both
on the ground and in the air. A figure of 200,000 birds was mentioned,
well below the number at the height of the breeding season!. Most
of the chicks were well developed juveniles, with white spotted
dark brown mantles.
terns on the Island included Bridled Terns (20 roosting in
the casuarina trees near the air strip), Crested Tern - 6
on the North Point - where there were also 25 Saunders Little
Terns. This North Point seemed to be a favourite entry point
for migrants. Early one morning we saw 4 very tired-looking Pacific
Golden Plovers here, along with a Greater Sand Plover.
We also saw both these species near the Lodge, along with Lesser
memorable waders for us included two Crab Plovers (3 were
reported whilst we were there); one of these, at the South Point
of the Island in the failing evening light, presented a striking
and atmospheric picture. We also saw our first Terek Sandpiper,
a very distinctive small wader. We failed to find the Grey-tailed
Tatler (2nd record for the Seychelles), which had been present
for a few weeks, but did include Whimbrel, Bar-tailed Godwit
and Grey Plover in our list of Bird Island waders. We saw
several Cattle Egrets not far from the Sooty Tern colony.
Apparently, in the terns' breeding season, the egrets predate the
of Bird Island's spectacles was the evening roost of Greater
Frigatebirds - about 150 of them, circling lower and lower in
the evening light. They were all females / juveniles, with the exception
of one all-dark, smaller male, which was constantly mobbed by several
females. We were also certain that we picked out a few Lesser
Frigatebirds, distinguished by their smaller size and two white
spurs on the underwings.
spectacle, at 5.30 am, was watching the Wedge-tailed Shearwaters
leaving their burrows and flying out to sea. We saw them at the
S. end of the air strip, and before it was properly light, the small
fast birds were skimming at knee-height over the air strip, sometimes
missing us by only 20 feet or so.
only recorded 25 species of birds on Bird Island, but the avian
spectacles were superb!