11 November 2022
If you follow our project, you maybe remember Ligea, the Scopoli's shearwater born on Ventotene in 2019, in the first nest discovered on the island. She (or he) was practically the first Scopoli's shearwater that could be said with certainty to have been born on Ventotene.
Well, after three years flying over the Atlantic Ocean, Ligea returned to Ventotene, in the exact same cavity where we found her. And waiting for her were the same people who had seen her as soon as she was born. A pretty good story!
But let's start at the beginning. In the last few weeks, the young Scopoli's shearwaters born this year have taken flight from the Ponziane Islands. They will reach the Atlantic Ocean and spend the next few years generally off the coast of West Africa. This is why researchers in early October explored the cavities where these magnificent seabirds nest to check the survival of the chicks and, if possible, ring them and their parents.
We were talking about Ligea. A few nights ago, researchers from the Ventotene and Santo Stefano Islands State Nature Reserve and staff from the PonDerat team carried out a check in the cavity where Ligea had been ringed in 2019, and which in recent years has seen other shearwaters hatch and fly away every year. After verifying the good health of the chick hatched this year, and after a few hours of waiting, finally around one o'clock in the morning, the moon set and the shearwaters began first to fly closer and closer to the cliff and then to emit their characteristic cries. Then, in total darkness, a very close flutter of wings is heard and then the sound of a first Scopoli's shearwater landing right nearby. Quickly it is caught to see if it has already been ringed. And here comes the big surprise. As soon as she reads the ring number, Sara Riello, head of the local Migration Museum, bursts into a mixture of laughter and tears and whispers 'II's Ligea'. And yes. After three years, we had met again that shearwater we had seen being born. Back, after three years in the skies above the Atlantic Ocean, in the same cavity where she had been born, in the company of her parents and what is in all respects her brother (or her sister - impossible to know the sex). who, in turn, flew away after a few days. Another young shearwater grew up safe from the most terrible threat to these seabirds, the rats, which have been eradicated from Ventotene thanks to our project.
This project, this island and these extraordinary birds have given us another beautiful story. And who knows, maybe next year Ligea will give us another surprise and return to Ventotene to start a family. You can be sure, we are waiting for her.