By Desroches Island Conservation Officer, Craig Nisbet
Seychelles is a remarkable place for visiting birders throughout the year. It boasts an impressive list of endemic species; some of which may only be seen on a handful of islands. It also boasts some of the most spectacular seabird colonies in the world - particularly in the Outer Islands - where colonies of more than a million Sooty Terns can be found, as well as smaller numbers of boobies, frigatebirds, tropicbirds and other tern species. However, at this time of year - when the prevailing wind switches from the south-east to the north-west - many migrating birds in search of warmer locations after their breeding seasons in the northern hemisphere either head for these small isolated islands in the Indian Ocean, or are blown off course en route to their preferred wintering grounds in eastern and southern Africa. This means that from October onwards, the opportunity to discover new and unusual species in the region are increased dramatically.
St. François Research Expedition: Discovering Secrets of Red-footed Boobies and Greater Frigatebirds
The objective of our mission was to capture roosting seabirds on St François island and attach satellite tracking devices to them – quite a unique undertaking, as most tracking studies have focussed on breeding colonies where it is possible to check the attachment of the device and even retrieve it at a later date. Studying a non-breeding colony presents more of a challenge, but the resultant data should provide insight into their flight movements and the secrets of their preferred feeding grounds at sea.