First Breeding Record of Tropical Shearwater in Amirantes

Approaching Desroches

Just before leaving the Seychelles I had the opportunity to visit Desroches, a sandy coral atoll cay in the outer islands – very different to the inner granitic islands. Desroches is owned by Island Development Company (IDC) and managed as a <a target="_blank" href="http://“>5-star hotel with a conservation center and ranger from the Island Conservation Society (ICS). The hotel has just changed ownership and so the opportunity to explore new island conservation initiatives had arisen. We take a 50 minute flight from Mahé and before long sight the sparkling atolls of the Amirantes group below us as we touch down on the runway.

Approaching Desroches (Photo by James Russell)

Desroches was first discovered in the 1770s but not properly colonised until the 1870s. Scientists did not arrive until even later in 1882 and one of the first pieces of work from the legendary David Stoddart was published in Coral Atoll Research Bulletin in 1970, while the island was still a part of British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) and copra plantation. In 2007 a new major hotel was developed reflecting the changing economic opportunities in the Seychelles. We are met by the ICS conservation officer Pep Nogues Vera who has been on the island for nearly 2 years and has only one week left before he moves to Alphonse further south. Pep eagerly shows us around explaining the current status of conservation on the island.

The surrounding sandy cay beach of Desroches (Photo by James Russell)

As dusk falls we are keen to visit the wedge-tailed shearwater (Puffinus pacificus) colony, which like on St Anne were only found recently. As we count occupied burrows a different call emanates from one of the burrows – a tropical shearwater (Puffinus bailloni)! I frantically try to —> Read More