Thursday, April 19, 2012

Well, it's been well over two months since we last posted. We apologise for our absence but we've been out on Dog Island, an uninhabited rocky paradise 13km Northwest of Anguilla in the Northeastern Caribbean. As part of a ten man team, our goal was to rid the island of invasive Black Rats, which would in turn improve seabird productivity along with benefiting all other aspects of island ecology including native plants and five species of native reptile. The work was hard, but we were constantly surrounded by amazing wildlife which made every minute fantastic. We're back on Bardsey now, trying to find time to sort through several thousand photographs; we'll post some of the better ones here. We'll start with a few of the breeding seabirds...

The most abundant of the breeding seabirds was the Sooty Tern; there are roughly 110,000 pairs. But we didn't actually see any until the last few days of the eradication. We did however hear them as they would come inshore under the cover of darkness, many hundreds of them giving their distinctive 'wide-a-wake' calls. Come the morning, all that would be left were heads and wings deposited by the resident Peregrines. These were very popular with the Ground Lizards. The removal of the rats will really benefit the Sooty Terns as the rats take eggs and small young. The eradication was timed so as to result in minimal disturbance to the terns, hence we were there prior to their breeding season. (c) Richard Brown

Perhaps the most impressive site on Dog was the colony of approximately 300 pairs of Magnificent Frigatebird which dominated the East End of the island. It was necessary to get close to the birds to ensure that all areas of the island received sufficient poison to successfully eradicate the Black Rats. But the frigatebirds weren't always too keen on this and occasionally gave Rich a belt on the back of his head. But for the majority of the time they were busy belting other things, particularly Masked Boobies, Brown Boobies and Red-billed Tropicbirds, all of which would regurgitate food if pressed sufficiently hard. (c) Richard Brown

A Brown Booby being pressed sufficiently hard. (c) Richard Brown


  1. Good to hear you're back on Craggy Fraggle Rock Island!

    Looking forward to more quality reading, trust that all your photos are as good as the Risso's Dolphins were last year... might even make it across the Swnt myself for a change...


  2. Nice to see yous posting again, fabulous photos of the lizard, can't wait to see some more.


  3. Good to see you up-dating again at last. Hope the birds are as good in Wales. All the best to you all. - The Browns! XXX