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Ocean Currents and Migration

Cold ocean currents carry food, when the cold currents come close to land a breeding opportunity opens for some seabirds - they can find food for their chicks. Stephen Lyle sends this report from Tobago where he's filming Red-billed Tropicbirds for the TV series 'Life'. He's taken a 360 degree panoramic picture and recorded some audio to guide you through the scene.

Sid the chick, with parent

Red-billed Tropicbirds

Stephen Lyle on Little Tobago Island, guiding you through the image below

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Report information

Red-billed Tropicbirds spend most of their lives as open ocean long distance wanderers, returning to land only once a year, when the currents are right, in order to breed. Each pair of Tropicbirds rears just one chick, leaving it in the nest while they go off on long foraging flights.

As I speak, our main character for this sequence, a young Red-billed Tropicbird, pictured above, is resting in the vegetation on the hillside behind me. He's not a new born chick, so, not so cute, but he's funny looking, with half his head covered in fluffy down still - it sticks up at the back.

He's a bit of a punk, so we call him Sid, after Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols. I say him, in truth there is no way I know to tell a Tropicbirds' sex, as a chick, or as an adult. Males and females look identical, a trait many monogamous birds share. It makes me wonder how they tell the difference!?

I'm currently on a steep sloping hillside looking out to sea, awaiting the return of the hard working Tropicbird parents. On their return with a crop full of fish, they can be mobbed by the piratical frigate birds, who perform a sort of mid-air hijacking. I've just taken a 360 degree series of pictures on this steep sloping headland to go along with an audio recording on my phone. Have a look and listen, hopefully they will give you a good idea of what's happening here right now.

Further Reading:

Stephen Lyle's next report: Panoramic of Red Knots feeding on Horseshoe Crab eggs

User comments

I will find the information of ocean deep, I find the news in chinese on internet these days. The news is about 1 years for explore 7 oceans. I am so interested in it. But I cant get the new link on bbc. Thanks for if u can help me LOCATION: 31.2292,121.4786 DATE: Thu, 23 Oct 2008 03:17:27 UTC

Love this. Not radio not telly but somewhere in between..... LOCATION: 51.4694,-2.5955 DATE: Wed, 26 Mar 2008 10:06:51 UTC

Amazing all round photo thing you have here, I can see the birds in the foreground! LOCATION: 51.450001,-2.583300 DATE: Tue, 25 Mar 2008 21:58:16 UTC

the cactus looked nice,not too many birds to distract from the fine view of the sea! LOCATION: 38.7327,0.1044 DATE: Sat, 22 Mar 2008 16:08:15 UTC

John Quintana
How you manage to make still images and audio better than video I'll never know... LOCATION: 51.500000,-0.116700 DATE: Thu, 13 Mar 2008 08:01:41 GMT

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