While the accumulation of mountains of plastic waste has been of concern for many years, more recent revelations about degradation processes of plastics and the ubiquity of microplastic particles in most of earth’s environments have raised the profile of excessive plastic use and disposal. Undoubtedly, a major milestone in raising public awareness was David Attenborough’s … More Still addicted to plastic!
January 2019 has brought very warm weather and plentiful rain to Mahé, the largest and most populated island of Seychelles. Towards the end of the month, low spring tides left vast areas of the foreshore inside the coral reefs free of water, allowing the sand, coral and seaweed to bake in the hot sun within … More Banquet for fish-eating birds
Less than one kilometre off the south-eastern coast of Mauritius, near Mahebourg, lies a small (27 ha), low lying coralline island, Ile aux Aigrettes. Like so much of Mauritius, it had been devastated by man’s activities – deforestation and the introduction of invasive species of plants and animals, leading to a loss of most of … More Ile aux Aigrettes: conserving Mauritius’s endemic wildlife
A bugle-like monotone sound permeates the early morning air of the local village street. The repeated sound emanates from a large conch shell with a hole pierced through the shell wall and can be heard for hundreds of metres from the source. Obeying the laws of physics, the volume of the sound increases as the … More A Seychelles tradition survives with fisherman John
On 22 July I was astounded to see a Swallowtail butterfly in a garden at Pointe au Sel. I am familiar with the other large butterflies in Seychelles, the resident Diadem and migrants African Monarch and Painted Lady, but this Swallowtail I had not seen in Seychelles before. My first assumption was that it must … More Another new addition to Seychelles’ fauna – another invasive alien species?
With an area of just under 20 km2, Silhouette is the third largest of Seychelles’ granitic islands. In terms of biodiversity it is one of the least disturbed islands in the archipelago, its rugged and heavily forested mountains having spared it from significant human occupation. Its fauna and flora encompass a high degree of endemism … More Myna problems on Silhouette Island, Seychelles
July and August are months when the south-east trade winds normally reach their maximum in Seychelles, leading to large ocean swells that send waves crashing on to exposed beaches. These have the potential to cause erosion of sandy beaches, especially during spring tides that accompany new and full moons. In addition to shifts of vast … More A Bird Island spring tide “flood”
Towards the end of this year’s stay on Bird Island I was able to photograph a Sooty Tern in the colony with unusual (compared with the vast majority of birds in the colony) plumage. Instead of having a clear-cut line between the white forehead and black cap on the head, this bird had a gradation … More A young Sooty Tern makes an early return?
In my early blog posts (14 January 2016 and 16 May 2016) I described the then recent arrival in Seychelles of a small moth (Euproctis species) whose hairy caterpillar (in Creole senir plim) was defoliating trees and bushes, and whose hairs could cause intense irritation to the skin of humans and domestic pets. Having fed … More Return of Seychelles’ spiders?
During our second period on Bird Island this year we have been helping our French friend and colleague, Dr Camille Lebarbenchon. Camille is a disease ecologist, specialising in viral pathogens found in seabirds of tropical islands. He is based at the University of Reunion. We first met at an Avian Influenza Symposium in Athens, Georgia, … More Noddies under investigation