28 June 2012

Bahrain – Ringing at Al Jarrim Island (Middle)

An extremely early trip to Bahrain, leaving Dhahran at 02:45 hrs, was required on Friday as we were going to try to ring Tern Chicks on the Al Jarrim Islands. These are three man made islands offshore Bahrain and have a southern, middle and northern island. We went first to the middle island to try to catch and ring White-cheeked Tern chicks. We went in Ali’s boat and had a team of seven including Brendan, Nicole, Ali, Jason, Ahmed, Hussain and myself. The tide was on the way in as we arrived and this mean we had to wade to shore from the boat. When we got to the middle island we split up with Brendan, Ahmed and Hussain going one way and Nicole, Jason, Ali and I the other. It was relative cool as it was only 06:00 hrs and we managed to find a few White-cheeked tern chicks and ringed 88 birds of which I ringed 19. Most birds were hiding under small bushed although a few were on the beach hiding under flotsam and jetsam. One the way around the island we found two colonies of Lesser Crested Terns with perhaps 200 breeding birds in each. They just lay their eggs on the ground in full view, and these birds had not been present last year. We also found a few Bridled Tern Chicks and I ringed seven of these birds. When we got back to where the boat was moored I saw two Indian Reef Heron Chicks which I cashed after and caught. We also caught a four more and I ringed three including a dark phase as well as two light phase birds. This was a new ringing species for me as well as Nicole and this combined with the fact I had not ringed White-cheeked Tern meant we had had a good trip to the middle island. 
Indian Reef Heron (dark phase juvenile)
Jason & Nicole with Indian Reef Herons (juveniles)
Indian Reef Heron nest

After catching the Indian Reef Herons I had to try and find Brendan as he had the larger rings and pliers, and this meant I had to walk all the way around the island again. I failed to find him on this walk as he had already returned the other way but it did allow me to photograph a few Bridled Terns in flight and on the ground. I also found two Indian Reef Heron nests with two eggs in each. These nests are just built low to the ground on top of the low lying vegetation. We will be coming back to this island on 6th July all going well to try to ring the Lesser Crested terns as well as any Bridled terns we may find. Brendan also found a tideline corpse of an adult Bridled Tern with a ring. The ring number was SR58087 and was ringed Brendan previously on the South Island in 2008 see here for details
Bridled Tern
Bridled Tern