A VOLUNTEER WRITES ABOUT HER COUSIN EXPERIENCE
Sally Fisher spent a month volunteering on Cousin Island in April 2013. In this three part blog post she shares about work, wildlife and island life…
It’s time to wake up for the six o’clock shot. I’ve quickly learnt that this half hour of exquisite skies before the sun peaks out over Praslin is the best time of day; a cool, tranquil time to enjoy a cup of tea. I am a new fan of mornings! I’ve copied an idea of a friend of mine to take a photo at exactly the same time, same place each day. The resulting “Sunrise Over Praslin” series will soon become a stunning memory of my month in paradise.
The kettle goes on. I’m boiling water, which is conveniently piped to a perfectly adequate kitchen, complete with ants and a delightful bunch of chirruping fodies and scuttling skinks. As I sit down with my vanilla tea, the sun hits my face and the colours around me change from pastels to deep orange hues. Breakfast today is crackers and cheese. When I extract the biscuits from their container, fifteen fodies appear from nowhere. The most confident birds arrange themselves in a semi-circle 30 centimetres from my plate; bickering and squabbling between themselves. They are waiting for the wind to catch a crumb or for me to turn my head away for a second. At my feet a skink lies in wait. Nothing goes to waste here.
Squawking Tropic Bird Chicks
After breakfast, April arrives at the Research House. We are off to ring some tropic birds. Each year, 100 nests are monitored and this lucky bird, in a nest just behind the house, is ready for his identifying ring. April suggests grabbing a stick.
“Wave it in front of his beak, so he attacks that instead of you”.
She’s right. He is distracted by the stick and I swoop in to grab him. Squawking and battling against my grip, April expertly rings the chick. Already a good size, this young tropic bird will soon be ready to leave the nest and join the others, which gracefully soar in the skies above, their long tail feathers trailing behind.
To be continued…