Bird Island - Seychelles
If you wish to share an island with a million sooty terns, then Bird Island is the place to be between April and September, when the terns breed. Other species of tern such as noddies and the fairy tern are also present. This flat coral island, 30 minutes by Air Seychelles from Mahé, is right at the northern edge of the archipelago, where the Indian Ocean floor drops 2,000 metres.
This location creates a second ornithological wonder. When winter grips the northern hemisphere, rare migrants and windblown vagrants arrive at this, the first landfall of Seychelles.
Many species new to Seychelles have been seen here, giving the tourist a unique opportunity for close-up bird-watching, especially between October and March. Bird Island is a private nature reserve, and whenever you visit there will be plenty to surprise and delight you. Of special note is the nesting of hawksbill turtles between October to February and green turtles the rest of the year.
There is good swimming and snorkelling and the beaches are superb for relaxation. The staff at Bird Island Lodge can advise on the best and safest areas in which to swim. Deep-sea fishing is particularly popular. The only hotel is Bird Island Lodge, with comfortable and spacious bungalows by the sea. Bird Island is also the home of the giant male tortosie, Esmeralda, estimated by some to be over 200 years old. Esmeralda is problably the largest free ranging tortoise in the world and has appeared in The Guiness Book of Records.