Tag Archives: Saunders’s Tern

Bird Island, zu Besuch im Paradies der Feenseeschwalbe

FeenseeschwalbeMit atemberaubenden Flugkünsten umkreisen Weißschwanz-Tropikvögel (Phaethon lepturus) Palmen, ehe sie sich zur Rast darin niederlassen. In großen Schwärmen segeln Rußseeschwalben (Sterna fuscota) am Himmel über der Insel. Jetzt Ende Oktober ist die Brut praktisch schon vorbei und überall sind die Jungen zu sehen. Mit ohrenbetäubenden Schreien ziehen sie Tag und Nacht ihre Kreise über der Lichtung des Palmenwaldes. Es gibt aber auch die nahen Verwandten, die Zügelseeschwalben (Sterna anaethetus) hier. Sie sind aber bei weitem nicht so häufig und eher auf den Granitinseln der Seychellen anzutreffen. Zum Rauschen der Brandungswellen gesellt sich das Geschrei tausender Seevögel, die im azurblauen Himmel segeln. Einige Vertreter sind in der Galerie der Vögel von Bird Island zu bewundern. Einige sitzen auf unserer Veranda und auf den Blättern der Palmen.

Die aufdringlichsten Vögel sind die kleinen Sperbertäubchen (Geopelia striata) im englischen zutreffend Zebra Dove genannt und die rotbrüstigen Männchen der Madagaskarweber (Foudia madagascariensis), die Madagascar Red Fody genannt werden, denn sie sitzen jeden Morgen auf unserem Frühstückstisch und picken die Reste des Toastbrotes aus dem Brotkörbchen oder vom Tisch.

Die anmutige schneeweiße Feenseeschwalbe (Gygis alba) ist sicher einer der Stars unter den Vogelarten hier. Mit schwarzglänzenden Augen und einem schwarzen Schnabel, der an der Wurzel blau ist, Continue reading Bird Island, zu Besuch im Paradies der Feenseeschwalbe

Bird Island, a paradise for the Fairy Tern

Pair of Fairy TernsJust two days ago we landed after several hours of flights over Addis Ababa on Mahe, the main island of the Seychelles. Supposedly the territory of Seychelles comprises 100 well more or less large islands, which together form an area of ​​443 km ². How strewn lie the islands of the western Indian Ocean, spread over an ocean area of ​​over 400,000 km “. The climate in the Seychelles is tropical with an average temperature of 27 degrees Celsius. The weather here is influenced by the monsoon, with a hot and humid season from November to March. The “cool” dry season lasts from May to October. We are now – at the end of October – just in the transitional phase there and hope not to be trampled in the rainy season.

For the flight to Bird Island we were picked up by a taxi from our resort in the south of Mahe and brought to the small airport of Mahe. The formalities were completed quickly. But there is still a problem with the luggage. They are allowed a maximum of 10kg per passenger. Ok, go for the luggage storage. In the waiting room we could already see our small plane on the runway. When we are finally released from the waiting room to the aircraft, we find that it is already hot and humid out there on the tarmac. But on the plane the temperature is even higher by a few degrees. Finally, we sit in the narrow leather seats, tighten the seat belt and wait for the things that are coming. Finally, the folding doors of the twin-engine aircraft is closed. Immediately, the temperature in the cabin starts to rise further. Only a minute later, the shirt is wet, thick beads of sweat forming on the forehead and run down his eyebrows. “Hopefully the plane will start soon”, which at the moment is my only wish. Through the open cabin I can see the two pilots at the start. At the front a small table fan rotates. “They will know why they put up this utensil in the cockpit”, this is what I am thinking. Much too slowly the pilots are dropping the headphones. Then the pilot turns to his passengers, friendly smiles at us and raises his thumb.

Finally, the plane takes off from the runway. You can feel the sigh of passengers formally, now just sit back and relax. We quickly leave the main island of Mahe behind us. Some uninhabited rocky islands lie off the main island, we only see the deep blue open sea before us. The two engines roar loudly and evenly in the air.

Bird Island is our goal. This tiny island is located about 100 kilometers north of Mahe and can be reached in the aircraft in 45 minutes. Bird Island is a flat coral island overgrown with palm trees. In former times the island was used for a plantation. Besides Denis Iceland is the only coral island in the Seychelles, which is inhabited. The Bird Island is famous for its many seabirds that breed here. The beautiful Fairy Tern (Gygis alba) is one of our target birds because we are traveling to this remote coral island. Moreover, migration seasons is on. Maybe we can see the one or the other migratory bird far from the migration routs along the East African coast. That we were very successful with this, I can prove with photos in the gallery very Continue reading Bird Island, a paradise for the Fairy Tern

Identification of Sternula Terns in Asia/Africa

When you are going to eastern Arabia in spring, you have good chances to see (and compare) 2 small terns of the genus Sternula. Sternula is a genus of small white terns, which is often subsumed into the larger genus Sterna. Saunder’s Tern, Sternula saundersi, was formerly considered to be subspecies of Little Tern but is now regarded a valid species besides the Little Tern, Sternula albifrons. Both species are never easy to separate in identification.

This  very interesting article   Birds of India: Identification of Sternula Terns in Asia/Africa might give some advice!

Here some more pictures for those birders who visit the Emirates or Oman.

In the Emirates (UAE) the Little Tern Continue reading Identification of Sternula Terns in Asia/Africa