14 Nov 2014

14 Nov 14 - Totally Tropical

After another night of sailing, I woke up to find we had reached the island of Morane and Matt & the team had not already found landing point on the island, but most of the group were ashore. It was a quick breakfast so along with the other late risers, we could get a zodiac ride to join them. Morane is a low circular coral atoll with an inner lagoon. The island is a wide area of coral with some areas of bushes & trees on it. The tree areas were much denser & it wasn't possible to get inside, as we had been able to on Tenararo.
Brian on the broad, low atoll beach
Morane doesn't have any Rats on it and consequently it has a good selection of breeding Seabirds as well as Tuamotu Sandpipers. One of the best Seabirds here were the Red-tailed Tropicbirds. Tropicbirds look superficially like large, bulky Terns, but they are a family of their own. There are three species in the family: White-tailed, Red-tailed & Red-billed. The first two species are found in the Pacific and Indian Oceans (with White-tailed Tropicbird also occurring in the tropical Atlantic Ocean). Red-billed Tropicbirds are restricted to the sub-tropical & tropical East Pacific, Caribbean, Southern Atlantic Ocean (from Ascension Island to St Helena) & the Red Sea coastline. So far I have only managed to get record photos of White-tailed Tropicbirds on Tahiti & Red-tailed Tropicbirds on Henderson Island. But I was pleased to see reasonable numbers of Red-tailed Tropicbirds breeding here & to get some better pictures of one member of this superb family.
Red-tailed Tropicbird: This is the melanorhynchos subspecies which occurs widely in the Pacific
Red-tailed Tropicbird
Red-tailed Tropicbird
Red-tailed Tropicbird: They were quite acrobatic over the main colony
Red-tailed Tropicbird
Red-tailed Tropicbird: They beat my local Mediterranean Gulls any day
Red-tailed Tropicbird: Look at that translucency in the wing
Red-tailed Tropicbird: An impressive tail
Red-tailed Tropicbird: They are stunning Birds
Red-tailed Tropicbird
Red-tailed Tropicbird
Red-tailed Tropicbird
Red-tailed Tropicbird: A nice sheltered nest site. Like all the Birds we came across on the islands, this chick was very approachable

2 comments :

  1. Wow, I was just looking to remote islands in the South Pacific and found Morane Island which looks amazing from Google maps, haha. I cannot believe that someone has actually been there.... it is such a remote place, almost like a virgin island... the experience must have been so amazing! How did you do it!? Great pics of the birds btw,congratulations from Chile!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Sofia,
    thanks for the feedback. Morane Island is very hard to access & will need a specialist expedition tour company. Further details on my trip to Pitcairn, Henderson Island, Morane Island etc can be found in the Posts starting with 3 Nov 14 - Off To See Noddy (& Some Boobies). I still have a final few Posts to write when I get time. It was one of the best trips I've been on.
    Steve

    ReplyDelete