Ile aux Aigrettes: conserving Mauritius’s endemic wildlife

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 Seychelles tradition survives with fisherman John

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

“Orange Omelettes and Dusky Wanderers” gets a lift off

Originally posted on Wild Bird Conservation:
? ? 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…

Curieuse Island

Since human settlement of the Seychelles archipelago about two-and-a-half centuries ago, most of the granitic islands that form the main island group have been substantially modified by man’s activities. At about 280 hectares, Curieuse is the fifth largest of the granitic islands and, like most of the others, it was formerly forested. Among the trees … More Curieuse Island

A walk through the woods uncovers a bit more of Bird Island’s history

Further to my post of 22 July, two other remnants of Bird Island’s former life remain hidden in the woods. Bird Island has two sources of water. Fresh drinking water is collected from rainfall, stored in enclosed reservoirs and treated before use. Water used for purposes other than drinking, on the other hand, comes from … More A walk through the woods uncovers a bit more of Bird Island’s history

Our plastic oceans

Even the remotest islands in the world are suffering pollution emanating from the sea and Bird Island is sadly no exception. Over the last weekend a group of French volunteers paid a short visit to clean the beaches of rubbish that had floated ashore. Today, the day after their departure, Christine and I walked around … More Our plastic oceans

Icelandic colonists from Europe (no, not the Vikings!)

In my book “The Starling” (Oxford University Press), published in 1984 (doesn’t seem like 33 years ago!) I noted the then relatively recent colonisation of Iceland by breeding Starlings. They were first recorded breeding in the south-east of the island, at Hornafjörŏur in 1940 and then in Reykjavic in 1960. This was at a time … More Icelandic colonists from Europe (no, not the Vikings!)

Arctic springtime

Crocuses and snowdrops in full bloom indicated the arrival of spring, but this was over a month later than our experience of similar events in southern England. I had taken Christine north so that she could experience life in snow and ice, something far removed from her home in tropical Seychelles! I had pre-booked Icelandic … More Arctic springtime