Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Live the Seychelles Experience: Bird Island

A delectable delicacy: Seychelles' much-loved sooty tern eggs harvested on Bird Island


As is the case in every country worldwide, Seychelles also has its own delicacies, among which, the sooty tern eggs - a speckled, sea-bird egg only available seasonally -  are enjoyed by locals and foreigners alike.





The eggs, locally known as 'dizef zwazo' are harvested from the birds’ nests annually between June and July when the nesting season begins, and Bird Island is one of the major breeding sites for these migratory sea-birds.

With an estimated 3 million pairs, each coming to lay a single egg every year,  the sooty tern is the most abundant seabird to be found in the Seychelles. For conservation reasons, the various islands that they return to each year are only allowed to harvest half of the eggs laid each season. 

Generally the price of a bird egg is almost $0.40 (5 Seychelles rupees) which is more expensive than a chicken egg and in some cases people end up paying up to $0.70 (9 Seychelles rupees) for the egg. Even at that price, the rare commodity sells like hotcakes and is always in short supply.

People in Seychelles like to eat these sea bird's egg in different ways. Depending on individual taste the eggs can be hard-boiled and eaten with a pinch of salt, cooked as an omelet or prepared as a salad.


 

Unfortunately, for those looking to feast on these eggs, this year has seen a drop in the supply of these delicious eggs, due to controlled harvesting on other Seychelles' Islands, making this even more of a rare delicacy!
  
However, Bird Island,  which is considered a wildlife reserve, sees tens of thousands of sooty terns colonize the beach during the breeding season.  From this island, which lies
100 kilometers from the main island of Mahé, small quantities of these eggs have been made available the beginning of this month.


Lying on the edge of the Seychelles continental shelf, Bird island is the most northerly island of the Seychelles archipelago and renowned for its sea bird colonies. The 24 chalets of this eco-lodge – the staff and guests of which are the only humans inhabiting the tiny coral island – offer comfortable accommodation but on nature’s terms:without television, telephone or air-conditioning, for guests to make the most of the environment during their stay. 


 

As its name suggests, the island is an ecologically important haven for birds, where up to 2 million sea birds come to roost every year and where endemic land birds are also present.

For your chance to experience this phenomena, and possibly try some sooty tern eggs for yourself, contact your Mason's Travel representative.








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