Tuesday, March 8, 2011

LHI - Black Noddy

We spent the entire day over at North Bay, travelling to and fro by flat-bottomed barge. Pinetrees provided us with a massive BBQ. We pushed through the beaten-path to Old Gulch were the large pebbles on the beach got the better of me. Then we went around the white expanse of beach and up into the rookery. Finally, we climbed as far as allowed up Mount Eliza. I made sure I was next behind the guide, to give me that extra psychological imperative to keep going.

These notes are taken from Ian's massive guide to LHI.

Black Noddies nest exclusively in the lowland forest. When they first colonised LHI in 1990, they were nesting in stunted Melaleuca bushes high up the cliffs of the Old Gulch. After their numbers increased to around 30 pairs, the colony migrated to the line of Norfolk Island Pines on the foreshore behind North Beach.

It was mainly the removal from the island of feral pigs, goats and domestic cats, that provided the impetus for the renewal of breeding. Cats especially have been totally removed, something resisted by residents for a while. Dogs are allowed, but this must be approved by the Board on a case-by-case basis.

Length 36cm. Weight 100gms. Sooty black body and wings. Forehead and crown are silver-white. Snatch fish and crustaceans from the surface.

Build a substantial nest of seaweed and excretea. Only lay one egg, which hatches after about 35 days. The chick flies after 50 days.

Sorry this last shot is not as focussed as I would like. I was wandering in and under the tree where anything could land on my head. Lucky I had substantial shoes on! It was quite dark under there and I could not get the shutter-speed high enough to counter the 800 ISO. However, I wanted to show you the feet ... umm ... another word I cannot think of.


Pat Tillett said...

It shoulds like an amazing place to visit! thanks for the great photos!

freefalling said...

I love his white eye-liner that you can see so clearly in the second shot.
And I love how they are positioned like Christmas decorations on the pine.

Owner: Desdy Baggott said...

So many evolutionary pressures seem stacked against this little fella. What a rare treasure.

altadenahiker said...

Sorry, that last one was mine. I was signed in on a blog I manage.

Kay L. Davies said...

This is super, Julie. I'm glad you included the one with the feet, because the red-footed boobies in the Galapagos have similar webbed feet with "toenails" (I don't know what else to call them) to allow them to perch in trees.
The first photo here, of the birds on the ends of the branches, looks like a decorated Christmas tree. I love it!
Feral goats had to be removed from the Galapagos Islands, too.
I love this stuff. I often wonder if I'd have been a naturalist if I hadn't majored in English. My high school biology teacher would laugh to hear me suggest such a thing as Kay-the-scientist.
-- K