Assumption Island – a miserable past, an uncertain future

11.6 km2 Assumption Island lies about 1100 km south-west of Mahe, Seychelles’ largest and most populous island, and is close to Aldabra atoll, famed for its relatively undisturbed ecosystem that qualified it for World Heritage Site status. Assumption is a raised coral island and was formerly home to a vast number of seabirds, especially boobies, … More Assumption Island – a miserable past, an uncertain future

A perplexing problem of plastic in Bird Island’s Sooty Tern colony

There can be few who are unaware of the ubiquitous problems faced by the world’s oceans as more and more tonnes of plastic contaminants enter them. A wide variety of plastic bottles, sheeting, fishing waste (buoys, line, fish aggregating devices [see my blog of 13 June 2017]) polystyrene packaging, flip-flops and other shoes, wash up … More A perplexing problem of plastic in Bird Island’s Sooty Tern colony

Another unexpected visitor to Bird Island

Bird Island is renowned for the number of non-resident birds that appear in its approximately 100 hectares of land. This might be because Bird is the northernmost island of Seychelles, and thus possibly the first land seen by birds arriving from the north. Additionally, smaller birds are probably more visible in Bird Island’s generally open … More Another unexpected visitor to Bird Island

Seychelles marine conservation plan hits the headlines

“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

Christmas wishes for Christmas Island: under threat (again)

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)

The migration of Bird Island’s Sooty Terns revealed

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

“Orange Omelettes and Dusky Wanderers” gets a lift off

    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

A BBC Natural History Unit first for Sooty Terns

The Sooty Tern is the world’s most numerous tropical seabird. Although it has been the subject of several major studies, two aspects of its life render investigation difficult. First, it generally breeds on remote tropical islands where access is often difficult. Second, it spends its entire life outside the breeding season at sea, living an … More A BBC Natural History Unit first for Sooty Terns