I just witnessed a murder

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We have sailed through the night to the northern most island we will get to on this trip. We have actually sailed across the equator so a lot of the people onboard probably should have had their Neptunian christening for cross the line of Equator. For me I actually sailed across the equator ones before several years ago sailing from the Tongian island in Indonesia to the main island of Sulawesi.

A big baby bird with a parent

Just after breakfast it is time to go from the ship to the shore of the island of Genovesa where we land in Darwin bay. We are going to spot a lot of birds here on this island. And we will not be disappointed – there are lots of birds on the cliff as we sail to the point where we shall land.

The different terns have their nest on the on the cliffs around the island while other birds dominate the land on top of the island. We get to the point where we can take the stair up to the island and down below we see a long legged bird looking for small fish and obviously another sea lion.

We make it up the stair and on the top of the stair are a lot of birds. It isn’t a problem getting close to the birds – they are everywhere and they are not moving. Tourist must stay on the trail at all times and not walk away from the trail. This seems sensible – considering the large number of nesting birds spread across the island. But the rules doesn’t seem to take into account that some of the boobies has decided to build their nest not next to the trail – but on the trail. So we have to walk a bit off the trial to avoid stepping into a nest of the Nazca boobies.

We walk a bit along the trail – and right next to the trail we witness a murder. The Nazca boobies like all boobies lay two eggs which hatch a few days between them. When the second egg hatch the first born baby is much larger than the new sibling. And the older sibling will kick out the baby sister or brother – the parent will just stand by and do nothing while the older sibling pushes the younger one out of the nest.

We watch as the older sibling keep hacking and pushing the younger sibling out of the nest. It takes a while for the older sibling to push out the younger one – and the parent just stand there. After a while the younger one is out of the nest but the older one keep pushing it further away from the nest for a while. Finally the older one is happy the young sibling is out of the nest and can’t make it back again – it is out and left to die.

Head of red footed boobie

It might be a bit macabre. But when we sit on the ship the last night and talk about the highlight of the trip – I say this murder was the highlight for me. I had never thought I would ever see this live – sure I have seen it a few times on the television – but I assumed this was due to the camera crew had left for a remote island putting up a shelter and then wait for days or weeks to be able to get this kind of footage. And here we only walk a couple of minutes from the shore inland on the island and then we spot a siblicide.

A red footed boobie fixing the feahter

We walk away from the murder site to go and see more of the birds on the island. There are a lot of birds. We spot a lot of red footed boobies – yes they do have very red feet’s.

Feet’s of a red footed boobie

There are also some Nazca boobies courting each other. The male give small gift to the female so they can make a common nest and have two eggs which probably only will result in one chick becoming adult.

In addition to the big birds there are also some smaller birds. We see several Darwin finches and some mocking birds. We also see some spot a fairly big owl which live around the islands and are one of the biggest predators on the islands.

It has been a great walk on the island – but unfortunately we have to go back to the ship. On the way back we walk by the spot where we saw the siblicide. Right there we see the parent warming the old sibling while the younger one lies behind the parent – it is still moving but it is clearly dying and probably only have a few hours left to live – I am sure the coldness of the night will finish off the baby bird if it isn’t dead before darkness.

Returning to the murder site with the dying young sibling

Dawn at the water we see some male frigate birds which have inflated their bright red throat poaches. After taking a few more photos of the frigate birds we are being rushed to the boat because lunch will soon be served so we really have to leave.

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