During the evening of 15 June, we sat on Bird Island’s west beach to watch the sunset and hopefully catch the first glimpse of the new moon. Both missions were successful – as the sky darkened the latter revealed itself as the tiniest sliver of a crescent. The sky was full of birds – Brown … More Batay torti – slowly does it!
Part of our work on Bird Island involves walking slowly through the Sooty Tern colony looking for birds that we have ringed in the past, some as long ago as 1972. It is not an easy task. It involves long periods of intense concentration and patience while being subjected to attacks to our heads and … More Return of an old friend
When Andy Paterson and I arrived at Fuente de Piedra on Saturday 12 May 2018, we were astonished to find the car park full and over-spilling to the extent that it occupied both sides of the entrance road. In addition to the wealth of birds mentioned in my previous blog, the visitor centre and the … More World migratory bird day, 12 May 2018
After several years of drought in southern Spain, the 2017-2018 winter, especially later during the season, brought huge downpours of rainfall. On my arrival on 9 May the countryside had a distinctly green hue and cereal crops already sported ears of ripening seed, with a few fields already beginning to turn brown. Many wildflowers were … More Water returns to Andalusia’s lagoons
“The Guardian” on 22 February highlighted a proposal to create 15 % of Seychelles’ Economic Exclusion Zone as protected areas, aimed at conserving the rich biota that are subject to a variety of threats, including over-fishing and its associated by-catch, mineral extraction and climate change. Funding for the plan has been facilitated by The Nature … More Seychelles marine conservation plan hits the headlines
Over the last 40 years or so we have learned a lot about the lives of Bird Island’s Sooty Terns while they are nesting on the island. Thanks to the development of new tiny tracking devices, we are now beginning to learn something of their lives at sea. Recently, I wrote about the remarkable findings … More How far to the Sooty Tern restaurant?
The Australian territory of Christmas Island lies in the eastern Indian Ocean, about 320 km south of the western end of Java, Indonesia. The 135 square km limestone island is home to many endemic and indigenous plants and animals, including the Red Crabs Gecarcoidea natalis that undertake a spectacular November migration from the forests to … More Christmas wishes for Christmas Island: under threat (again)
On Bird Island, and in other colonies throughout Seychelles, Sooty Terns breed seasonally during the south-east trade wind, roughly April to October. Outside this time, the millions of birds involved disappear from Seychelles waters and, apart from five recoveries of ringed birds (3 in Sri Lanka/southern India and one each in northern Australia and at … More The migration of Bird Island’s Sooty Terns revealed
On Saturday 4 November my book “Orange Omelettes and Dusky Wanderers” was launched in my local town, Haslemere. Haslemere Bookshop hosted an afternoon brief talk and signing. At the well-attended event I explained the background to my studies of Sooty Terns in Seychelles, initiated through concern over the excessive harvesting of their eggs … More “Orange Omelettes and Dusky Wanderers” gets a lift off
On 11 July 2017 Christine and I were able to revisit Cousine Island, a small private island nature reserve off the western coast of Praslin. Like most Seychelles’ islands, its native forest was removed in the late 19th or early 20th century in order to make way for coconut cultivation. At that stage Sooty Terns … More Sooty Terns have a successful year on Cousine Island