12 Nov 2014

12 Nov 14 - It Was A Long Day On Tenararo

I set a new record on the day we visited Tenararo with over 1300 photos taken. This combined with the enigmatic species that I saw, has resulted in the day being split into a number of Posts covering Tuamotu Sandpiper, Atoll Fruit-dove, Polynesian Ground Dove & Bristle-thighed Curlew. This final Post will complete the other species seen on Tenararo as well as feature some new Tuamotu Sandpiper photos.
A typical view of the inside of the island
From the beach it looks like a well vegetated round island. In reality, the island is a ring with an inner lagoon, which connects to the sea on really high tides. It is about 100 - 150 metres from the coastal beach to the lagoon beach.
The inner lagoon: We were told it would not be a safe idea to try swimming in the lagoon as there were concerns of Sharks having been trapped inside the lagoon on the highest tides & a potential risk if we met one of the less docile species
The mouth of the lagoon: The sea flows over the mouth on the highest tides
The bushes at the edge of the lagoon had nesting Boobies & Frigatebirds
Steve: Note, the Tuamotu Sandpiper that had got bored with us  & was leaving
Masked Booby: They were nesting on both the inner & outer beaches
Masked Booby & chick
White Tern
Crested Tern: One or two were patrolling the inner lagoon
The Great Frigatebirds weren't shy
Great Frigatebird: Juv
It wasn't just Birds on Tenararo that were of interest. I saw reasonable numbers of the stunning Heliotrope Moth.
Heliotrope Moth: It was the only Moth that I saw on the island
White-bellied Skink: They were very skittish & not easy to photograph
Grapsid Crab sp. on the beach: They look pretty smart from the side
Grapsid Crab sp.: But head on they are stunning
Finally, it would be rude not to add a few more Tuamotu Sandpiper photos now that I have had chance to look the over 400 photos I took of them on the first visit to Tenararo. As I walked through to the inner beach, I was regularly greeted as I moved into a new territory. At least one of each pair would normally come really close to check me out & most called. Generally, they approached to within a metre or two, before backing off a bit. Quite often they would head up onto low branches & sit watching me. I think a number of these individuals were breeding & may have been calling to young chicks to keep still. Although I didn't see any chicks, some of the others did find them nesting when we visited the island of Morane later in the trip. I guess they haven't needed to develop the more typical Wader broken wing strategy as they get so few visitors.
Tuamotu Sandpiper: They are really at home sitting in the trees
Tuamotu Sandpiper: I like the background of this & the last photo
Tuamotu Sandpiper: They would walk around a lot within a few metres & call a lot whilst walking
Tuamotu Sandpiper: Up close & personal
Tuamotu Sandpiper
Tuamotu Sandpiper: A final photo
Eventually, it was time to catch the jet boat back to the Braveheart
But a final thought: if you thought that an isolated uninhabited island hundreds of miles from people would be a clean place, then think again. There was plenty of rubbish that had been thrown up on the beaches by the sea.
Fishing float: The names showed they came from a variety of Pacific countries 
Another fishing float: They were a common sight
Netting & a large barrel: Presumably washed overboard from a fishing vessel