When Bird Island was first discovered by Europeans in the 1770s, it was described as being covered by “innumerable” birds and later visitors reaffirmed this, also mentioning scant vegetation. The discoverers did not name the birds they found but Sooty Terns were likely to have been the most numerous species. Other species, mainly ground nesting … More Bird Island is not just for Sooty Terns!
Between May and September Bird Island, Seychelles, hosts the world’s largest Sooty Tern colony that is readily accessible to tourists (there are a few larger breeding colonies of Sooty Terns in the Indian and Pacific Oceans but they are on islands that are not open to tourists). The approximate half a million pairs that breed … More New visitor facilities on Bird Island
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!
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?
After several days of preparation on Mahe, on 9 June Christine and I flew to Bird Island. We had heard that Sooty Terns had begun laying on 25 May. This is unusually early for the start of their nesting season, which does not normally begin until June. We are here to continue our studies of … More We return to Bird Island to find further erosion
In December 1971, only five months after the opening of Seychelles’ International Airport, a British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) VC10, then the flagship aircraft of their fleet, delivered me safely to my first footstep on Seychelles soil. It had been a long flight, more cramped than in current larger aircraft, and necessitated a refuelling stopover … More British Airways returns to Seychelles
“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
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 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
In the northern hemisphere, the autumn southward migration of birds is well underway as many species head for regions where food remains more plentiful than in their breeding areas. Birds from northern Europe and Asia head mainly for Africa and south-east Asia but some arrive, either deliberately or … More Bird Island beware – the onslaught is about to begin!