Kiritimati: Motu Tapu

Another islet in the Kiritimati lagoon that is completely protected and off-limits to any fishing is Motu Tapu (“tapu” coming from the Polynesian “tabu” most likely – meaning “prohibited”). It is located deeper into the lagoon and not only has the highest concentration of birds on it, but also the highest variety of birds species. We counted a dozen species here – white terns, black noddies, blue noddies, brown noddies, Christmas shearwaters, wedge-tailed shearwaters, ultra rare Phoenix petrels, red-footed boobies, masked boobies, sooty terns, great crested terns, and more (more detail about some of the species in next posts). The little island is totally incredible – you can’t possible be closer to the birds than this – they are everywhere above you and around you and you walk around the ground covered with eggs and little chicks. Adolescent red-footed boobies and sooty terns actually flew right above your head and borderline landed on your outstretched hand. Plus beautiful beaches, white sand, various crabs, and flora. A totally surreal experience of a lifetime from a to z.