05 July 2013

The breeding season – Al Jarrim Island South (Bahrain)

Here are a few photographs of what it is like on Al Jarrim Island South. The island has hundreds of breeding Bridled Terns and Lesser Crested Terns. Approximately 250 pairs of Bridled Tern and 5000 – 6000 Lesser Crested Terns breed on the island with the Lesser Crested Terns laying their eggs out in the open on sandy areas. There were three different colonies of Lesser Crested Terns and the sound of the birds when flying around was deafening. When the chicks hatch they form large crèches and are guarded by a few adults.
Lesser Crested Tern Colony
Bridled Tern

Bridled Terns, on the other had, lay a single egg (normally), under a shrub or bush and when the young hatch they hide very well under these shrubs. They have to be extracted carefully as they generally choose the spiniest bush to hide under. Below is an unusual sight of what appears to be a blue coloured egg of a Bridled Tern. The egg to the right is a normally patterned egg but the blue one is very unusual.
Bridled Tern Egg
Bridled Tern
Bridled Tern
Both species were at various stages of development with some Bridled Terns still sitting on eggs and others with almost full-grown young. The Bridled Terns have had an early breeding season this year as birds last year were not at this stage of development until about three weeks later.
Lesser Crested Tern eggs
Lesser Crested Tern egg
Lesser Crested Tern - newly hatched chick
Lesser Crested Tern chicks
Lesser Crested Tern - adult with fish for its young
Lesser Crested Terns were mainly sitting on eggs although several thousand very small young were in crèches at various places on the island. Contrary to the Bridled Terns the Lesser Crested Terns were probably a week later in their development than last year, although again both species appear to have had a good breeding season.