Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Turned on Terns

What is your favourite animal? For me its coral of course. It’s a delicate bunch of intricate little animals living together in harmony. So you can imagine my delight as the boat headed out to Kisite, a tiny coral island, home to terns and crabs. Splash. We were in the water and once again I was faced with beautiful coral: huge boulders of Porites, Poritiidae, sheets of Echinopora, Faviidae, and mounds of Psammacora, Siderastrea. 

To put my love of coral into context, I just came from the GVI Seychelles expedition where I was conducting coral reef surveys looking at the composition and health of the reef. And to be honest I was having coral withdrawal. So as we splashed along in the sunshine through crystal clear water, unicorn fish and brown marble groupers dodging us, I could see the health of the little off shore reef. 

Martin, a Kenyan bird researcher, was with us, and he loves birds as much as I love coral. He joined us so he could get to Kisite to see if the terns are nesting. As we bobbed along the waves to the island he told me how no research has been done on this bird colony for 40 years. His excitement was palpable. We paddled in over the coral rag and soft sand. The island is raised out the water at low tide, presenting a sharp coral vertical surface. But Martin scaled it in seconds, eager to see how his beloved birds were. 
Martin on Kisite Island

Kisite a few years ago when the Terns were breeding

After a wander around the island he returned to climb back into the sea, the birds are not nesting... Yet. So as we splashed back to the boat you could see the cogs turning, he’d be back to check on these birds, and hopefully conduct the first research on this colony of turns in 40 years.
Tina Thorburn-Volunteer