Farewell Danger Island

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Blog by Hannah Wood, Institute of Zoology, ZSL

Today is our final full day on Danger Island! It has been an action packed 10 days so far and we are pleased to report that this had been a very productive trip! All in all we have deployed sets of tracking devices on 33 red-footed boobies and 15 brown boobies. This is the first time boobies have been tracked from Danger Island, and this is the most monitoring devices ever deployed on brown boobies in the whole of the British Indian Ocean Territory. We have successfully retrieved our tracking devices from 32 red-footed boobies and 11 brown boobies and are very excited about finding out where the birds have been going.

In addition to our tracking work, our team member and PhD student, Pete Carr has been leading a whole island census of breeding seabirds here. He estimates that over 700 pairs of red-footed boobies are breeding on Danger Island, in addition to smaller populations of brown boobies, lesser noddies, common noddies, common white terns, great crested terns and black-naped terns.

2019 24 Jan. Common white tern on an egg. Danger Island, BIOT. Hannah Wood.JPG
Common white tern on an egg

Another bird we have discovered breeding on the island is a little more surprising. Chickens! We routinely hear crowing and glimpse them running through the shrubs behind our camp, and recently we discovered two different nests with eggs as well as a hen with chicks. It is still uncertain who introduced them here and when, but we have enjoyed bumping into them on our hikes through the forest.

2019 24 Jan. Danger Chicken. Danger Island, BIOT. Hannah Wood.JPG
Danger Chicken

Finally, we were excited to see that there have been a lot of green turtle tracks in the sand as well as a mating pair in the surf indicating that the island is a breeding location for this endangered species.

2019 24 Jan. Turtle tracks in the sand. Danger Island, BIOT. Hannah Wood.JPG
Turtle tracks in the sand

We have now packed away everything other than what we need for the next 12 hours in preparation for departure early tomorrow morning. We will be leaving two time-lapse camera traps here over the next few months in order to continue monitoring the red-footed boobies. Hopefully we will collect the images on our next trip here and find out what they get up to when they have the island to themselves! 

2019 24 Jan. Sunset on Danger Island. BIOT. Hannah Wood.JPG
Sunset of Danger Island

This research is kindly funded by the Bertarelli Foundation as part of the Bertarelli Programme in Marine Science.

For more updates from this and future expeditions, follow us on Twitter @BIOTscience.

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