At an event held on Australia’s remote Christmas Island, Indian Ocean Experiences were delighted to be awarded with a Terra Incognita Ethical Bird Tours Certificate. The certificate was presented to Lisa Preston (Indian Ocean Experiences) by Karenn Singer (Christmas Island Tourism) at the opening of the exciting annual Bird’n’Nature Week. Lisa was delighted with the recognition for their tours, which showcase the endemic birds of Christmas Island.
Bird’n’Nature Week is the highlight in the year with citizen scientists joining scientists to gather information, learn about the birds and other species which create the unique ecosystem and to have some fun. It is an immersive and interactive week of activity.
With 63% of Christmas Island allocated as a National Park, the collection of data is vital for wildlife management and has assisted in informing government policies and practices. Perhaps the most novel way of collecting data is fishing for the Christmas Island Goshawk with Mark Holdsworth from the back of a ute (Australian for truck, or utility vehicle!).
Goshawks are attracted to the movement of cloth resembling a rodent and then swoop to allow them to be captured. Measured, banded and photographed, the birds are then released. This activity has built up a large data base extending over the 12 years that Bird’n’Nature Week has operated.
Other highlights include sightings of the rarest booby and frigate birds in the world, the Abbott’s Booby and the Christmas Island Frigatebird, and the endemic Christmas Island Hawk Owl.
Uniquely to Christmas Island the red crab is the keystone species which has shaped the ecosystem. There is time to explore their rainforest home as well as take a behind the scene look at the conservation program for the Blue-tailed Skink and Lister’s Gecko which are both believed to be extinct in the wild.
A recent participant said the Week is “well organised, a good range of activities at a good pace, well recommended”. If you want to know more about the birds of Christmas Island and the range of tours available see www.christmas.net.au.